The No. 22 Long Beach City College women's volleyball team hit its home hardwood on Wednesday night with a South Coast Conference (SCC) Co-Championship title on the line by facing off against the No. 8 El Camino College Warriors. In a packed house with an intense atmosphere, LBCC grabbed the advantage early at 2-0, but ultimately fell in a heartbreaking, 2-3 defeat with set scores reading 29-27, 25-19, 18-25, 13-25, and 10-15.
The first set established the tone from the get go, with Long Breach grabbing the first three points compliments of two kills from sophomore outside Sarah Miller and a service ace from freshman libero Jordan Diaz. However, the Vikings stumbled and allowed the Warriors to go on an 11-0 run to put LBCC in a 3-11 rut early.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs began to chip away at the Warrior's lead to eventually bring the score to 25-15. From then on, the Vikings utilized the powerful attack of Miller as she racked up four kills. Sophomore outside Breana Torres recorded a kill to bring the score within one point. Sophomore outside Jessica Kaeka hammered home the game winner in the first set for an amazing, 29-27 comeback victory in the first set.
Long Beach rode their momentum entering into the second set by charging out to an early 7-3 advantage. Miller and freshman setter Mary McBride were on the same page as usual by linking up three times. Torres and freshman libero Jordan Diaz hooked up for a point, while Kaeka continued to make an impact with a kill in that timespan.
Freshman middle Melanie Estavillo maintained the four-point spread with a service ace for the ninth point of the match, which sparked a 6-1 run that was capped off by a perfectly executed slide from freshman middle Valeria Payan to hand the Vikings a 16-9 lead.
Long Beach cruised to a second set victory with a three-point streak to end the second half compliments of two kills from Torres and a service ace from Kaeka to grab a 2-0 match lead.
Despite capturing the early momentum, Long Beach failed to contain the El Camino offense, eventually leading to a fifth set.
LBCC hopped out to a promising 3-0 lead in the fifth with three-consecutive kills coming from the hot hand of Miller with McBride assisting on all three. After losing the lead due to a four-point Warrior outburst, Estavillo kept the set tied with a kill to bring the score to six all.
However, the Vikings were unable to handle the Warriors down the stretch leading to a 2-3 defeat.
Miller recorded a game-high 26 kills off a game-high 72 attempts to equal a .194 hitting percentage. She was active on the defensive end as well by digging 18 attempts. Kaeka backed her with nine kills and nine digs, while Diaz recorded 15 digs and three assists.
McBride continued to be the life blood of the offense by serving up 47 assists which is six shy of her career-best mark. She added two timely kills as well.
At the conclusion of the regular season and with playoff hopes still alive, Head Coach Misty May-Treanor views this season as a success.
"We as a coaching staff took this team and said 'we want to win conference', and it's not easy playing in a conference with El Camino," stated May-Treanor. "I am very proud of where we were able to take the program."
May-Treanor was able to take a team that failed to win more than 10 games and brought it to a state in which the team only lost four mathces the entire year, finishing the regular season with an overall record of 18-4. She credits numerous aspects.
"With the support of the college and being able to play in the big gym, you could not ask for a better experience for these athletes to play in. You hope that games like this will help the kids learn and gain something...it's about believing in each other and growing and sharing the time you have with eachother on the court."
The Vikings await their playoff fate in the upcoming days. Stay tuned to www.lbccvikings.com for further information.