By Robert Lewis
Pasadena City College Sports Information
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - Orange Coast College used a blistering attack from all over the floor, led by tourney MVP Jordan Hoppe, to sweep El Camino, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, as the Pirates captured the 2017 CCCAA state men's volleyball title Saturday night. OCC (21-1) finished the season on a 20-match win streak and collected the college's seventh state crown.
The Pirates hit .469 overall, including a nearly flawless .615 in the third set (17 kills, 26 attempts, 1 error). Hoppe, who scored eight kills in the second set alone, finished with a match-high 16 kills and tacked on five digs and two blocks. Teammate Justin Kam added 11 kills in only 17 attempts (.529). Other contributors were Matt Ujkic with eight kills, Austin Marriott with six kills in just seven attacks, Zane Moothard five kills and Bradley Hankus four kills.
Orange Coast led 17-12 in the final set before El Camino cut it to 22-20. Ultimately, it was Hoppe making the big hits, ripping kills for the final two points to close the match.
OCC setters Colby Elder and Jacob Gilliam combined for 45 assists and found easy targets in utilizing middles in the 6-foot-4 duo of Marriott and Hankus.
"This is a team of competitors, and our leader Hoppe is a player who night in and night out refused to allow his team to lose," said Orange Coast head coach Travis Turner, who also coached the 2014 Pirates to a state title.
"I think the biggest difference between those two teams was the '14 team was more of a finesse squad, and this one was a group of thugs. They just want to bury you."
And that the Pirates did to El Camino (12-8) despite the Warriors having more players reach double figures in kills than OCC, 3-to-2. PJ Tulikihihifo scored 13 kills (.458), Cesar Medina 12 kills and Christopher Phanngam added 10 kills and a match-high seven digs.
"We hit .305 overall and .485 in the third set, and I'll take that in any match," said El Camino coach Dick Blount. "But Orange Coast was No. 1 ranked all year for a reason. Every time we got a big point, they responded with one of their own."
OCC's Kam, a sophomore from Punahou, Hawaii, talked about his team's run of success this season.
"From day one, we were one of the hardest working teams in the state," Kam said. "We just have so many weapons. Our coach always would tell us that if they punch you, you punch back harder. El Camino is a good team, but we wanted this title more."
OCC recorded just the fourth finals sweep since the sport went to rally scoring in 2001. This was the sixth time Orange Coast was in the championship match in the past nine years. El Camino has never won the state title with four second-place finishes in its men's volleyball history.