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Pirates' plan set in place

OCC, borrowing blueprint that helped Long Beach win three state titles in last seven seasons, dominates.

February 11, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — The architect of the blueprint for community college men's volleyball success watched almost helplessly as his team's house crumbled Friday night.

Long Beach City College Coach Randy Totorp had, in effect, created the human hurricane that swirled on the other side of the net during the nonconference match at Orange Coast College.

"What's funny is, we have kind of followed the model of what [Totorp] has done," OCC head man Travis Turner said after the Pirates' 25-17, 25-17, 25-23 triumph to up his team's record to 4-0. "When he was winning all those state championships [2004, 2006 and 2009], he was getting players for three years and playing with older guys."

The formula calls for stockpiling the surplus talent produced by high school and club programs, mostly in Southern California, that because of decreasing scholarship opportunities at four-year schools, are eager to keep playing.

With rosters swelled to 30 players, community colleges then redshirt players for one developmental season, in effect, creating their own farm system for experienced talent. One might say it's as much about gestation as matriculation.


"We only have one true freshman playing on the court for us," said Turner, whose veteran squad appears to be driven to avenge a loss to Moorpark in last year's state championship final.

What the Pirates do put on the court is a tall, talented and balanced band of veterans who have proved too much for their first four opponents this season.

Long Beach (1-2) was clearly overmatched, despite three returning starters from a 16-2 squad that was upset by OCC in last year's state semifinals.

"We can set all five guys and we haven't had that here since I've been here," said Turner, in his fifth season at the helm.

Sophomore setter James Anderson, a bounce-back from Cal Baptist who redshirted last season, doled out 36 assists to six different hitters. By the time OCC had scored 19 points, it had received kills from seven different players, including Anderson.

McKay Smith, a transfer from Long Beach State, finished with 12 kills to lead the way, while sophomore returner Jeff Patton (eight), freshman Chris Pratt, another redshirt, (eight) and sophomore returner Troy Tomasello (seven) were additional weapons.

Freshman libero Danny Baker, out of Corona del Mar High, had a team-best 10 digs, while Turner also praised sophomore middle blocker Richard De St. Jean, a Newport Harbor High product, who chipped in three kills and was in on three blocks.

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