Pirates come all the way back for a five-set win over El Camino

Pirates come all the way back for a five-set win over El Camino

COSTA MESA -- After falling behind the first two sets, the Orange Coast College men's volleyball team dug deep and pulled out a five-set win over visiting El Camino College on Friday night inside the Peterson Gym.

Kyle McCauley had 19 kills to lead the Pirates to a 21-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-17, 15-11 marathon win over a solid Warriors' squad that was two points away from sweeping OCC of its own floor.

"I think the difference tonight was who made the fewer self-inflicted mistakes each set," OCC head coach Travis Turner said. "We managed to clean things up down the stretch and I think that was what carried us."

Clark Steele added 13 kills for OCC (4-0), while Jack Flynn added 11 kills, Jake Loudenback contributed eight kills and five blocks and Aiden Wolf-Nielsen notched six kills and four blocks.

For the Warriors (2-1), Gabriel Vargas-Featherstone added 15 kills, but the Pirate defense held him off of the kill sheet in the all-important fifth set.

It looked like it was going to be a quick night for the visiting Warriors as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match. OCC had nine unforced errors in the first set, more then the entire match against Long Beach City College last week.

In the second set, Coast improved its play, but the Warriors continued to play flawless volleyball behind the hitting of Vargas-Featherstone, Cameron Steen and Cinjun Coe, who each had four kills in that set to grab control of the match.

In the third set, El Camino held a 23-21 lead and was just two points away from a 3-0 sweep when the Pirates found life late. Two kills by McCauley and two more by Steele sparked a 4-1 run to give Coast a 25-24 lead and a McCauley slam kept Coast alive with a 26-24 win.

That momentum carried into the fourth set as OCC turned a 13-13 tie into a 21-14 lead as McCauley ripped three big kills and Wolf-Nielsen notched back-to-back solo blocks to highlight the run. Finally, a McCauley kill and a Steele block ended the fourth set for OCC to force a five and deciding set.

Both teams went back and forth before the Pirates grabbed control of things, turning a 6-6 tie into a commanding 12-6 advantage. Some ECC mistakes, paired with big kills from Flynn and a solo block by Loudenback forced ECC into a pair of timeouts.

The Warriors refused to fold and used a 4-0 run to force OCC into a timeout at 12-10, but Coast regained control after a big kill by Flynn and a pair of ECC errors gave the Pirates the two points it needed to pull off the improbable rally.

OCC will return to action on Wednesday at Long Beach City College, beginning at 6 p.m. OCC's next home match will be on Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Miramar College, beginning at 5 p.m.