Freshman middle blocker McKay Smith, who had six kills and five blocks, including three straight solo stuffs in the third game to turn a 16-15 lead into a four-point cushion, said the Grossmont match helped spur the motivation needed for Friday … and beyond.
"It was a great eye-opener for us," said the 6-foot-6 Smith, a former defensive lineman for the Dana Hills High football team, whose intensity is well-known among the Pirates. "After we beat Long Beach real nice, we kind of just let up, which we can't ever do. [The loss to Grossmont] was a real wake-up call for us. It just kind of let us know that nothing is going to be easy. Everyone is going to come after us every night. We need to work harder and get better at a lot of things. I think we made a step in the right direction tonight."
Sophomore opposite Troy Tomasello led the winners (8-2, 3-1 in conference) with nine kills. Chris Pratt, a freshman middle blocker, had eight and Jeff Patton, a sophomore outside hitter added seven.
Richard De St. Jean, a sophomore middle out of Newport Harbor High, had five kills and six blocks, while sophomore setter James Anderson had 31 assists.
Turner also praised the play of freshman libero Danny Baker, a Corona del Mar High product who had seven digs.
"Liberos don't get enough attention, but he has been super solid all year," Turner said of Baker. "There's no flash there, but I thought he did a great job."
OCC did not trail in the opening game, but rallied from a 7-1 deficit in Game 2. The Pirates pulled even, 11-11, but the Lasers (6-3, 2-1) earned a 15-13 lead. OCC, however, scored six straight points to take the lead and, after IVC pulled even again at 23-23, closed it out with a net violation and a Patton kill.