COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's volleyball team overcame an inspired start by Santa Barbara City College and picked up a solid four-set win over the visiting Vaqueros on Friday night in the Southern California Regional playoffs.
With the 23-25, 25-17, 25-10, 25-18 win, the second-seeded Pirates (19-2) advance to the California Community College State Final Four and will take on conference rival Irvine Valley on Thursday night at Fullerton College (time TBA). Log on to www.occpirateathletics.com for the latest playoff information as it becomes available. For the seventh-seeded Vaqueros, their season ends with an overall record of 12-6.
For the Vaqueros, Kyle Skinner came through with 14 kills, while Haward Gomes added 12.
Both teams came out swinging with their seasons on the line and the Pirates appeared to have the upper hand with a 20-16 lead in the opening set. But SBCC used a 6-2 run to even the set at 22, thanks to a pair of kills by Skinner and a single kill by Scott Sanburn.
A McCauley kill put OCC back out in front, but the Vaqueros returned fire and used a block by Blake Lockhart and a kill by Skinner to close out the set and gave the Vaqueros a 25-23 win.
The second set was another back-and-forth tilt with the Pirates holding a 19-16 advantage, but this time, the Pirates upped the ante and closed things out with strong kills by McCauley, Moothart and Steele to cap off a 6-1 run.
That home momentum continued for the Pirates in the third set as OCC steamrolled the Vaqueros with a 20-9 run and never looked back.
In the fourth set, it was more of the same as another strong start put Coast out in front for good. At 20-13, things got interesting as a 5-1 run by the Vaqueros cut the deficit to two at 21-18 with a pair of kills by Lockhart and single putaways by Gomes, Adam Simonetti, and Cameron Fry highlighting the run.
A key point came on the following serve as SBCC was called for being too far over the net, giving the point to the Pirates and from there, a pair of unforced hitting errors and a kill by Steele ended the match for the Pirates and the season for the Vaqueros.