COSTA MESA — A good start had never before been a problem for the Orange Coast College men's volleyball team. So, when the Pirates squandered a six-point lead late in Game 1 against underdog Irvine Valley in the semifinals of the California Community College Athletic Assn. championships, it was as unprecedented as it was troubling.
Sure enough, the Pirates failed to fully recover, falling, 28-26, 25-21, 17-25, 25-21 to end their season.
The loss also halted a nine-match winning streak and made it two years in a row that OCC failed to survive a Final Four at its own gym.
The Pirates (16-3) were attempting to claim their fifth state title, their first since 1994.
Instead, IVC (13-7), which OCC had twice beaten by winning six of seven games during their two conference meetings, will play for its third state crown in five years on Friday. The Lasers, who upset Grossmont in the regular-season finale to deny the Griffins a share of the Pacific Coast Conference title claimed by OCC, will meet the Griffins once again at 7 p.m. at OCC.