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Volleyball reaches playoffs, soccer compiles winning record

YVC’s volleyball team finished the season with a 21-9 record, including 13-3 in conference play. In the middle of the season, the Yaks strung together nine consecutive victories.

Finishing the regular season ranked No. 3 in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s East Region, the Yaks defeated No. 2 seed Lower Columbia in their first match during the regional round of the 2022 Volleyball Championships before falling to No. 1 Bellevue and then Lower Columbia in a rematch, missing out on an opportunity to advance to the Elite 8.

“Having returning sophomores who we were able to develop in the off-season played a key role in our success,” said Head Coach Darci Dekker. “Adding to that, we had incoming freshmen who were eager to learn and work hard.”

In addition to the team’s nine-game winning streak, the team put together another seven game win streak as the season concluded. Dekker attributed those streaks to the team’s commitment to continual improvement and sharing the same goal.

“The team set goals for themselves and continued to work on areas which we needed improving,” Dekker said.

Female volleyball player digs ball
Defensive specialist Brynn Widner prepares for the dig.

Dekker also hailed the 2022 team’s resiliency, which manifested itself in numerous ways, such as a thrilling late season victory over Columbia Basin College — at the time the No. 2 team in NWAC coaches’ poll — in which the Yaks stormed back after dropping the first two sets.

“We encountered many setbacks, whether it be injuries or illness, and managed to work through them,” she said. “Our players have had to learn and change positions often and have accepted each role they were given.”

Multiple players also received individual honors for their performance during the season.

Sophomore setter Courtney Standley was named to the East Region All-Stars First Team, sophomore libero Nizhoni Tallman was named to the Second Team, and Standley, Tallman, setter Alandra Acido-Pastor and middle hitter Dale Schrier were named Sophomore All-Stars.

Tallman also was named an NWAC “Defensive Player of the Week” (October 3 – 9) while Schrier was named “Offensive Player of the Week” (September 5 – 11). At the Edmonds Invitational in September, Standley made the All-Star First Team and defensive specialist Brynn Widner made the All-Star Second Team.

Widner finished the regular season fifth overall in digs in the NWAC with 421, Standley finished sixth overall in kills with 290, Emaline Mariscal finished tenth overall in blocks per set with 0.87, and Acido-Pastor finished tenth overall in service aces per set with 0.51.

Female volleyball player spikes ball
Right-side hitter Jacynta Myles-Gilford spikes through an attempted block.

Women’s Soccer

In their first season playing for Head Coach Josh Vega, the women’s soccer team compiled an overall record of 9-7-1, going 6-7-1 in conference play. Finishing the season in fifth place in the East Region, the Yaks didn’t make the playoffs but closed their season on a high note with a 5-0 victory over Wenatchee Valley.

During the final weeks of the season, Vega was proud to see the team show improvement in all of its rematches against the top teams in the NWAC East, even as injuries kept some of the Yaks top players off the pitch. The development of the team’s chemistry stood out to Vega.

“There was and still is a real ‘family’ feel to the team which, as a coach, is exactly what we try to instill,” Vega said. “There’s a spirit of togetherness which is very apparent.”

Women's soccer players
Mid-fielder Ella Mckenna (#24) works to shake free of a defender.

That spirit started developing early, and Vega said one of moments that stands out to him was the first team bonding event of the season.

“We had a team karaoke party that I really feel helped our returning players and incoming players start to develop that family feel,” he said. “Seeing our players start to come out of their shells and move past some of that initial anxiety was great.”

While the program will see the departure of ten sophomores, Vega looks forward to the return of a strong group of freshmen and a talented class of recruits.

“I feel like we had some unfinished business this season, and we were a bit unfortunate at times with some circumstances that really prevented us from consistently showing our quality,” he said. “We’re going to take a breath, regroup and get to work bringing in new players into the Yak family and building on the foundation we laid this year on what this program is going to look like moving forward.”

In individual accolades, sophomore forward Rachel Farr was named the East Region Women’s Soccer co-MVP for the 2022 season after being among the league leaders in several several categories including goals scored (9) and assists (6) despite missing multiple games due to injury. Also receiving recognition for YVC on the East Region All-Star squad were sophomores Ella McKenna, Taelyr Overby and Aria Bragalone, who were all named on the Honorable Mention team.

Women's soccer players
Forward Mackenzie Kitt (#18) breaks free from a defender.

Yaks hold court

Yakima Valley College kicks off its men’s and women’s basketball seasons this November. After participating in multiple tournaments to kick off the season, the NWAC reigning men’s champions will play their first home game of the 2022-23 season on January 4, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at Sherar Gym. The women’s team will take the court at Sherar Gym on November 29 at 5 p.m. for the first home game of its 2022-23 schedule.

Tickets are free for YVC students and employees, $5 for senior citizens and youth, and $7 for adults.