The Orange Coast College men’s volleyball team (18-2, 8-0 in Orange Empire Conference) rolled to its second consecutive undefeated conference run in its three-set victory over Santiago Canyon College Hawks (5-15) on Friday.
Fresh off their sole-OEC championship clinching performance against Irvine Valley College Wednesday, the Pirate men entered Friday's game with chance to rest their starters and get players well deserved playing time in the final game before the playoffs begin.
Notably, sophomore libero Ivan Garcia-Burgos was one of those players, who received a starting nod and was honored by team head coach Travis Turner in between sets for his time at OCC.
Garcia-Burgos finished his final regular season game in an OCC jersey with six digs, one kill and two aces.
“It was good to get this one done in three sets after two (games) back to back that went to five (sets),” Turner said. “We knew we were going to get guys some playing time who deserved it.”
After keeping the opening set close in the beginning, a 7-0 run gave the Pirates a comfortable lead that they held on to for the entirety of the set winning by a score of 25-16. Although the Hawks tried to keep the set close, they couldn’t handle the strong hits from the Pirates.
Freshman outside hitter Wyatt Rowland led both teams in kills where he tied his career high with 10.
Communication seemed to be an issue for Santiago Canyon, whose late errors proved to be costly, allowing the Coast men to secure the second set on a 7-1 run.
The Hawks got out to a solid start in the third set, but the Pirates rallied back late to take the match to secure their undefeated conference season with a final set score at 26-24.
“I believe we are one of six teams that have a real good shot of winning the championship,” Turner said. “We just have to pass better.”
The Pirates will look to defend their state championship title in the opening round of the Southern California Regional playoffs against Santa Barbara City College on April 20 in the Peterson Gym at 6 p.m.