COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team kept second place in the Orange Empire Conference all to themselves with a three-set win over visiting Riverside City College on Wednesday night inside the Peterson Gym.
Lucrezia Lualdi had a team-high 12 kills to go along with 18 digs to lead the Pirates (18-5, 11-4 in the OEC) to a 25-13, 25-17, 26-24 win over the Tigers (12-13, 6-9). Mahina Kanoi added seven kills to go along with 11 digs, while Joceline Martinez and Bailey Coffin each contributed six kills.
For the Tigers, Vashti Elias-Romero led the offense with 11 kills.
OCC set the tone for the night early in the opening set, blasting out to a 19-7 lead with Coffin leading the way with five kills during that run. From there, both teams traded points as Coast cruised to the opening-set win.
It was a bit more balanced in the second set, but, with the score tied at 11, OCC used a 7-0 run to pull away for good as Lualdi picked up a pair of kills and a block during that crucial run.
Riverside turned things around and led for most of the third set before a 7-2 Coast run pushed the Pirates in front, 20-18.
But the Tigers answered back with five straight points, thanks in large part to some strong serves off the right arm of Sierra Scott, putting the Tigers up 23-20. RCC had a pair of match-point opportunities at 24-22, but a kill by Martinez and an ace by Lualdi evened the score at 24, forcing the Tigers into a timeout.
It didn't stop the Pirates from finishing things out as a wide kill attempt by RCC and another ace by Lualdi closed things out and gave the match to Coast.
Coast remains one game ahead of Cypress in the standings. OCC has one match remaining (Wednesday at Cypress College, 6 p.m.), while the Chargers still have to face OEC champion and undefeated Irvine Valley on Friday before their home match with the Pirates.
Playoff seedings will be announced in two weeks. Be sure to log onto www.occpirateathletics.com for the latest playoff information as it becomes available.