Men’s Volleyball: No. 1 Long Beach wraps up WSC title with sweep of ECC
The No. 1 state-ranked Long Beach City College men's volleyball team rolled to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-20 sweep of No. 2 El Camino College in a Western State Conference showdown on Friday at LBCC. With the win, the Vikings earned at least a share of the WSC championship and can take the title outright with a win in Wednesday (Apr 11) regular-season finale at Santa Barbara City College or another loss by El Camino.
For the Vikings, it was their eighth conference championship over the past nine seasons and first for co-head coaches Matt Silva and Jonathan Charette.
Long Beach bounced back from a disappointing loss on Wednesday to Moorpark with a renewed sense of urgency. A loss to El Camino would have likely knocked LBCC out of title contention. But now Long Beach has the inside track to capturing an automatic berth in the state championship semifinals.
On Wednesday, sophomore Rob McLean (East Northport, NY) led the Vikings with 14 kills. He added five digs, three blocks, and three aces.
McLean paced LBCC with four kills in the Vikings' opening 25-18 victory. With LBCC clinging to a 15-14 lead, the Vikings rallied for seven straight points to jump ahead 22-14 and never look back. McLean's booming kill gave LBCC the set win.
Long Beach poured it on in Set 2. Two consecutive aces by freshman Jonathan Schaefer (Serra HS) gave LBCC an 8-5 advantage. Leading 10-7, Long Beach scored 12 of the next 16 points. The Vikings got two kills from sophomore Max Wechsung (St. John Bosco HS) and another from McLean to go ahead 22-11. Hunter Hovland's serve into the net gave the Vikings the second-set victory.
El Camino put up a fight in Set 3. Long Beach stormed out to a 6-2 lead before the Warriors rallied back to eventually tie it up at 11-1. Late in the set, Hovland's kill got El Camino within one at 18-17. But McLean responded with consecutive kills to give Long Beach some breathing room at 20-17.
Down the stretch, sophomore Aniefre Etim-Thomas (Wilson HS) posted three of his match-high seven blocks, while a kill by freshman Jo'Lon Clark (Poly HS) gave LBCC the set, match, and Western State Conference title.
Clark also had a big match with 11 kills. Wechsung totaled 21 assists to go with five digs. Sophomore Dylan Marquess (Downey HS) led the Vikings with 14 digs.
For El Camino (10-5, 6-3 WSC), Trevor Butler led with 11 kills. Hovland chipped in with seven kills and eight digs, while Joseph Tanuvasa posted 25 assists.