COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College needed a little extra time to take care of business, but the Pirates still managed to defeat visiting Santa Ana College in four sets on Friday night in an Orange Empire Conference matchup.
Led by a 15-kill, 19-dig performance from Mahina Kenoi and a 14-kill, 21-dig performance by Lucrezia Lualdi, the Pirates overcame a second-set hiccup and defeated the Dons, 25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21 to maintain at least a tie for second place in the OEC standings.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 16-4 overall, 9-3 in conference play, while Fullerton College swept past Santiago Canyon to also improve to 9-3 in conference, 14-8 overall. First-place Irvine Valley (18-0, 11-0) did not play.
Setter Thea Snider dished out 40 assists to go along with 18 digs, while Terri Tokita-Robins anchored the defense with 27 digs.
For the Dons (5-15, 2-10), who pushed the Pirates to five sets in the opening round of OEC play, Ashly Hernandez paced the offense with 21 kills.
OCC jumped out to a comfortable 21-13 lead in the opening set, but Santa Ana closed the gap and even though the Dons dropped the opener, 25-20, they continued their improved play into set No. 2.
SAC hung around in that second set and trailed 21-18 before calling timeout and going on a 7-1 run to stun the Pirates and even the match at a set apiece.
Coast regrouped and jumped out to an early 13-7 lead in the third set and cruised to a 25-15 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was the closest of the night. Neither team could make any significant run and the Pirates led by only two at 17-15.
But a pair of Johnson blocks at the right time pushed OCC's advantage to 19-15 and from there, the Pirates kept the Dons from any momentum-swinging runs of their own. SAC got to within two at 22-20 before a Coffin kill and a hitting error by the Dons pushed the lead back up to four at 24-20. After a Santa Ana point, Lualdi ended the match with a kill off the net to give Coast the win.
OCC will return to action on Wednesday at Santiago Canyon College at 6 p.m. before returning to the Peterson Gym on Friday night against the first-place Lasers, also at 6 p.m.