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OCC recovers quickly

Community College Men's Volleyball

After first-set loss, Pirates win three straight to claim sole possession of conference lead.

April 04, 2014|By Barry Faulkner
  • Orange Coast College mens' volleyball players react after beating Grossmont in four sets in a Pacific Coast Conference match on Friday.
Orange Coast College mens' volleyball players… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

As the Orange Coast College men's volleyball team takes sole occupancy of the Pacific Coast Conference penthouse, it can be said that Grossmont has served as its front-desk clerk.

The Griffins have continued to be the source of wake-up calls for the Pirates, the latest coming Friday in OCC's 23-25, 25-7, 25-15, 25-22 victory over the visitors from El Cajon in a battle for first place.

It was Grossmont (11-5, 8-2 in conference) that handed the Coach Travis Turner's squad its only defeat, a five-game road setback on March 12. And it was the Griffins who appeared bent on repeating that outcome by taking the opening set in Costa Mesa.

But OCC (16-1, 9-1), righted itself to claim a dominant Game 2 triumph and proceeded to close it out in four, gaining the tiebreaker over the Griffins, should they wind up tied for first.

But with just two matches left – at home against third-place Irvine Valley (7-3 in conference) on Tuesday and at last-place San Diego Mesa (0-17 this season) on April 11 – it would take a highly unlikely misstep to deny the Pirates at least a share of the conference crown.

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"This was a big win for us," Turner said of his team's seventh straight triumph, only the fifth time this season that the Pirates have not swept their opponent. "With this win, we basically clinch the conference title [and a first-round bye in the regional playoffs]. Even if we lose to IVC and tie [Grossmont], we have the tiebreaker against Grossmont [having won five of the nine games played between the two this season]. We would have to lose to Mesa to not win it."

Not winning was a possibility Friday, as the Griffins, who came in on a seven-match winning streak, rallied from deficits of 5-1 and 15-13 to claim the opening set.

"These guys gave us our first loss, but I guess we didn't really come ready to play," said OCC sophomore setter Brendan Duff, who had 48 assists. "[The Griffins] surprised us. They were definitely ready to play."

Turner said he was uncertain why the Pirates faltered early.

"I don't know if it was nerves or maybe we were a little bit over-excited about the match," Turner said. "But we didn't play well, I know that. We haven't had nine hitting errors in one game all season."

But whatever the shortcoming, the Pirates got it rolling in the second set.

"In Game 2, everything went for us," Duff said. "I've never played ball like that where everything is going our way."

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