Pirates capture OEC title with sweep over Santiago Canyon

Pirates capture OEC title with sweep over Santiago Canyon

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's volleyball team made this year's Orange Empire Conference title official on Friday night as the Pirates claimed the title with a straight-set win over Santiago Canyon College.

Jack Flynn had 13 kills to lead the state's top-ranked team to a 25-20, 25-22, 25-16 OEC win over the visiting Hawks. Garrett Halsey added nine kills and three aces, while Aiden Wolf-Nielsen had seven kills and only one error in 13 attempts in the middle. Enzo Boggio dished out 21 assists, while Braden Neumann anchored the defense with 10 digs.

It is OCC's fourth consecutive conference title and the eighth overall during the 13-year tenure of OCC head coach Travis Turner.

With the win, Coast keeps its perfect record intact at 20-0, 7-0 in conference, while the loss drops the Hawks to 10-7, 2-4 in OEC play.

Coast found success early and often in the opening set, keeping the Hawks from running off multiple points at a time. The Pirates ripped 13 kills in the opening set, including five by Flynn and three by Wolf-Nielsen as the Pirates took care of the opening set.

SCC picked up the pace and held leads of 8-4, 15-13 and 18-16 before the Pirates regrouped and used a 5-1 run to regain the lead, 21-19. The Hawks, led by 13 kills from Davis Hombrecher, hung tough and evened the set at 22 before a kill by Kyle McCauley and a pair of unforced errors by the Hawks gave OCC the win and a two-set advantage.

In the third set, OCC jumped out early and never looked back as the Pirates jumped out to an 18-7 lead, thanks to three kills by McCauley and three more by Flynn as well as multiple blocks by the taller OCC middle blockers. 

The lead grew to 23-10 before a mini-run by the Hawks pulled them to within eight. But, a Flynn kill ended the match and gave OCC the conference title.

With the win, OCC will hold the No. 1 seed in this year's CCCAA playoffs and will host a first-round match on Friday, April 19 at 6 p.m. against an opponent to be determined. Be sure to log onto www.occpirateathletics.com for the latest playoff information as it becomes available.