by Chris Ruiz, CCCSIA
The Orange Coast College Pirates avenged a postseason loss from last year by defeating the Santa Monica College Corsairs 3-1 in the early semifinal match of the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Men's Volleyball State Championship at Pierce College in Woodland Hills on Thursday.
OCC, the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's top seed, overcame an opening-set loss to beat Western State Conference No. 2 seed SMC by scores of 23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 26-24 to advance to the state championship final on Saturday at 7 p.m. against either Long Beach City College or conference rival Golden West College.
The Pirates used a balanced attack to earn the win, getting 11 kills each from Adrian Faitalia, Wyatt Henson, and Gianluca Grasso. Faitalia added five blocks and six digs while Jake Adams led the Pirates with 36 assists.
Defending state champion Santa Monica saw its season end with a 12-9 overall record. Last year, it the was the Corsairs that eliminated the Pirates from the postseason in the state semifinals. Richard Yu slammed down a match-high 16 kills for Santa Monica and Roscoe Nehls added 13 kills. Joseph Mayer led all with 38 assists.
Orange Coast, now 21-2 overall, returns to the state championship final after a one-year absence. OCC beat Santa Monica in 2014 for its last state title. The Pirates look to capture their seventh state championship in program history.