Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team stuns Orange Coast, on to State Final

Courtesy of on My Game Photography
Courtesy of on My Game Photography

For the second year in a row, an undefeated top seed lost in the California Community College Athletic Association Men's Volleyball State Championship semifinals.

And Irvine Valley was the team that took down previously unbeaten Orange Coast on Thursday night at Fullerton College.

The Lasers stunned OCC and came out on top, 26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 26-24, to advance to the state championship final.

The fourth-seeded Lasers (15-7), guided by first-year head coach and former IVC player Ryan Windisch, will take on No. 3 Long Beach City (18-3) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for the state title after the Vikings pulled off their own upset, sweeping past No. 2 seeded El Camino.

The Lasers will attempt to win their fifth state championship in program history.

Orange Coast had a record of 22-0 heading into Thursday's semifinal with the Lasers and was the overwhelming favorite to capture the state crown.

Sixteen of OCC's 22 wins came by way of three-set sweeps and the Pirates finished their season winning 67 sets while losing only 11.

But the Lasers never wavered.

It was truly a team effort as four IVC players recorded double-digit kills.

Freshman outside hitter Demetre Gossett finished with 16 kills to lead the Lasers, while freshman outside hitter Declan Holder played one of his best matches of the season, adding 11 kills on 15 attempts with no errors.

Freshman middle blocker Tristan Belsby had 10 kills and sophomore outside hitter Sean Carroll ended with 10 kills.

Freshman setter Jimi Wilson had 49 assists on the night. Irvine Valley hit .324 as a team for the match compared to just .216 by the Pirates.

Kyle McCauley had 18 kills and 10 digs for Coast, while Jake Loudenback, Clark Steele and Jack Flynn each had seven kills. But, 22 hitting errors (tied for the most this season) and the .216 hitting average as a team (lowest for the Pirates this year) both came at the wrong time of the season and the inspired Lasers took advantage.

Coast led 18-15 in the opening set before five consecutive IVC points gave the Lasers a 20-18 advantage. And IVC went on to take the first set.

Kills by Gossett and sophomore right side Luke Davis and a hitting error by the Pirates gave the Lasers three straight points and a 26-24 win in the opening set.

OCC's best set of the night came in the second as the Pirates ripped 12 kills with only three errors for a 25-21 win.

In the third set, the Pirates led 13-11, only to see the Lasers respond with seven points in a row and grab the lead for good.

OCC moved within 23-21, but the Lasers took advantage of a pair of hitting errors for the final two points and IVC grabbed a 2-1 lead in the match.

An early 8-4 lead for the Lasers in the fourth set was washed away by a 9-1 OCC run, giving the Pirates a 13-9 advantage.

But IVC clawed back and evened the set at 23. Both teams traded points to tie things at 24 before a Holder kill and a Gossett ace ended the match.

CCCAA Men's Volleyball State Championships - Semifinals (Apr. 25 at Fullerton College)

No. 3 Long Beach City def. No. 2 El Camino, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 21-16)

No. 4 Irvine Valley def. No. 1 Orange Coast, 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 26-24)

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