Pirates advance to next round with four-set win over Mounties

Pirates advance to next round with four-set win over Mounties

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team extended its 2017 season with a four-set victory over Mt. San Antonio College in the play-in game of the Southern California Regional playoffs on Saturday night inside the Peterson Gym.

The 16th-seeded Pirates (18-8) picked up some solid offensive performances from middle blocker Alibelle Pilimai and Sierra Lim to outlast the 17th-seeded Mounties, 27-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18.

Pilimai led OCC with 12 kills and two blocks, while Lim knocked down 10 kills to go along with 12 digs and Evelyn Awai came off the bench to provide nine kills.

Setter Devyn Holland dished out 25 assists, while libero Rylee Adair came up with 22 digs to pace the Pirate defense.

For the Mounties (14-14), Sierra Lujan had 10 kills, while middle blocker Jordon Wilson added nine.

In a match which neither team could provide dominance over the other, the opening set was a mirror image of what was in store for the evening as two playoff teams fought back and forth. Coast used an early run to grab a 7-3 lead and maintained that at 22-20 before the Mounties ripped off three straight points to grab a 23-22 advantage.

A pair of Mt. SAC violations helped push the lead back to the Pirates, 24-23, but the Mounties fought of a pair of set-point opportunities to stay alive.

But in the end, a double-contact violation (one of 18 combined between the two teams) and a combo block between the duo of Tilleree Johnson and Aubrey St. Laurent provided the Pirates the opening set with a 27-25 win.

Coast continued its strong play with a 12-7 lead in the second set, only to see the Mounties go on a an 11-1 run to grab the momentum for good. The Pirates used a pair of Pilimai kills in a 4-0 run to get to within a point at 21-20, but Mt. SAC returned the favor with a kill by Jada Sharpe and a block by the tandem of Alysha Tullar and Shaianne Palos to lead 23-20. From there, both teams traded points, giving the Mounties the second set and a 1-1 draw in the match.

The height of the Mounties -- particularly the 6'1 Wilson -- showed up early in the third set as three solo blocks helped highlight an early 6-1 lead for the guests.

But OCC bounced back with a 13-3 run to grab a 14-9 advantage, thanks to multiple kills by Awai and Johnson as well as strong serving from reserves Gerogia Grisham and Savannah Babcock.

Mt. SAC did not quit and slowly chipped into the Pirate lead, using a late 5-2 run to pull to within a point at 24-23, but a clutch kill by Awai off the Mounties' block attempt gave Coast the final point it needed to grab a 2-1 lead in the match.

Things looked tough early in the fourth set as the Mounties refused to go away, leading 12-11 midway through, but a crucial 9-1 run by Coast gave the Pirates a lead they would not lose the rest of the way. St. Laurent came through with three key kills over the final six points to help seal the victory.

Orange Coast will travel to top-seeded Irvine Valley (22-0) on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs with a time to be determined.