Pirates' season stays alive with incredible comeback win over Long Beach

LONG BEACH -- The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team fought off EIGHT different match-point opportunities by Long Beach City College and found a way to keep fighting, draw even, then pull away from the Vikings as the Pirates escaped with a five-set win in the opening round of the Southern California Regional playoffs on Tuesday night at LBCC.

The ninth-seeded Pirates (19-6) fought off four set points in the fourth set and four more match-point opportunities in the final set to survive and advance with a 17-25, 25-21, 20-25, 27-25, 16-14 marathon win.

With the win, OCC stays alive in the postseason and heads to Irvine Valley to take on the unbeaten and top-seeded Lasers (24-0) on Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m.

With the Pirates down two sets to one and trailing 24-21 in the fourth set, the miracle comeback began with back-to-back kills by Bailey Coffin and a quick kill by setter Thea Snider, followed by an attack error by the Vikings, drawing OCC even at 24. A Long Beach kill pushed the Vikings up 25-24, but Coast responded by a kill by Lucrezia Lualdi and back-to-back hitting errors by Long Beach, turning a potential season-ending four-set loss to a 2-2 tie in sets and a race to 15 in the fifth and final set.

Long Beach looked to take control of things in the fifth and once again, was just one point away from victory at 14-10 ... before the Pirates staged a comeback for the ages.

  • A Long Beach hitting error ... 14-11
  • A big kill by Mahina Kenoi ... 14-12
  • Another hitting error by the Vikings ... 14-13
  • Timeout, LBCC
  • A third kill error by Long Beach, 14-14
  • Another kill by Kenoi ... 15-14 (Match-point -- OCC)
  • A quick kill by Snider ... 16-14

Just like that, the Pirates went from a first-round departure to a season-defining win over a 20-win Vikings program.

Joceline Martinez led the OCC offense with 17 kills, while Mahina Kenoi added 12 kills and 17 digs. Lily Johnson (eight blocks) and Bailey Coffin (17 digs) each added 10 kills, while Lualdi added eight kills and 15 digs. Snider dished out 50 assists in the win.

For the Vikings, Brooke Earkman had 28 kills and 17 digs, while Anisa Lopez added 22 kills. Jillian Petnicki had 59 assists and Celestial Ropati notched a team-best 21 digs.