The Orange Coast College beach volleyball team split a double header Friday, falling to Santa Ana College 3-2 and nearly shutting out Riverside City College 4-1.
A bright gray overcast sky and some stubborn wind came into play at OCC’s home Newland Courts in Huntington Beach as the Pirates (5-5, 1-3 in Orange Empire Conference) hosted Santa Ana (7-7, 1-2 in OEC) and Riverside (5-6, 0-1 in OEC) for a round of OEC double headers.
Maneuvering their way around No. 1 team regular and freshman Hannah Del Barto’s unexpected injury, the newly minted rookie No. 2 team of freshmen Rylee Adair and Devyn Holland came away as the Pirates’ big winners. The pair won its second match against Riverside easily, 21-18, 21-14, to secure the Pirates’ only undefeated record on the day.
But it was the winner-take-all attitude in Adair and Holland’s first match against Santa Ana that showed their worth as the No. 2 team. Battling back and forth between game point advantages, the pair’s voices seemed to ring out louder than any other team on the beach as they took the match 24-22, 22-20.
“We have a lot of fun on and off the court. We really try to build chemistry off the court and bring our friendship on to the court,” Adair said. “It feels really good.”
The duo wasn’t the only team that had to adjust to the injury. According to head coach Chuck Cutenese, Del Barto’s injury came just two days prior to the doubleheader, forcing his Nos. 3, 4 and 5 teams to rearrange and move up in their slots on one day’s worth of practice.
“The hardest part is playing doubles when someone’s injured,” Cutenese said. “But despite all new teams, it was a good day to play up.”
Cutenese said that the dynamics of beach volleyball are unique in that the players can develop an individual team chemistry with their respective partners. But with Cutenese’s team size having grown considerably from previous seasons, switching the teams up can have its benefits.
The Pirates will look to extend their 1-game win streak as they face off with the No. 2-seeded Cypress College and Concordia University Friday at the Newland Courts. The double header begins at 10 a.m.