Two colleges that benefited from the previous double-elimination format met up in what figured to be a close match in the quarterfinals of the CCCAA State Women's Volleyball Championship Saturday. Instead it was No. 4 South seed El Camino that not only upset North No. 1 and defending state champ Cabrillo, but made it look easy in sweeping the Seahawks, 25-23, 25-12, 25-13.
El Camino (24-3) will face No. 1 South seed Pierce at 7 p.m. tonight in the championship semifinals.
Cabrillo (24-3) struggled with a sea of errors that included 26 attack mistakes, six service errors, three block errors, and two ball-handling no-nos in watching its season come to a close. Last year, Cabrillo lost its opener and then won 10 sets on the final day to win the 2015 title at College of the Canyons. But the change to single-elimination meant the Seahawks were one and done at the '16 affair.
El Camino, under the direction of Le Valley Pattison who is retiring from indoor volleyball after 26 seasons following the tournament, was strong in many areas and took advantage of a tough day for the Seahawks. Pattison coached two state titles for El Camino in 2007-2008 both while coming out of the loser's bracket after tourney-opening defeats.
"Cabrillo had all the pressure on them as a one seed and we played like we had nothing to lose," Pattison said. "Cabrillo made so many uncharacteristic type errors for a team that is well coached. We blocked well, and that's not something that is a strongsuit for us. We just relied on a balanced attack. Micah Hammond played really well for us and has come on strong in the playoffs."
Hammond (in photo) scored seven of her 10 kills in an opening set that saw 11 ties and six lead changes. A Hammond kill and then a touch drop shot for a kill by Aiko Waters gave ECC a 25-23 first set win.
In the following two sets, El Camino never trailed. The Warriors opened a 14-2 lead in the second set and coasted. In the third set, ECC went ahead 10-4 and 17-5 as Cabrillo never got on track.
Taylor Brydon matched Hammond and Waters with 10 kills each. Brydon added four block assists and two aces. Glorious Owens made five block assists. Michelle Shimamoto contributed 12 digs and Nina Wyer dished out 29 assists.
For Cabrillo, Natalie Picone and Lauren Saler made six kills each. Amber Bothman totaled six blocks and Melissa Gonzalez was effective in short play with five kills. Coach Gabby Houston Neville's teams had their run of state championship finals end at three straight after winning state in 2013, runner-up in 2014 and last year's crown.