Irvine Valley, Long Beach City tied for top spot in volleyball coaches poll; Orange Coast and San Diego Mesa close behind

(Courtesy Orange Coast Athletics)
(Courtesy Orange Coast Athletics)

CCCMVCA Release (Mar. 14)

IRVINE - For the second week in a row, Irvine Valley and Long Beach City are tied for No. 1 in the California Community College Men’s Volleyball Coaches Association State Poll.

It was a slow week for a number of teams last week as Orange Empire Conference and Pacific Coast Athletic Conference squads prepared for the start of conference action this Wednesday.

But Long Beach swept two opponents – Santa Barbara City on the road Wednesday and Antelope Valley at home on Friday – to improve its record to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the Western State Conference.

Irvine Valley won its ninth match of the season (9-1) in its lone match last week. The Lasers swept at Palomar, 25-11, 25-14, 25-17, behind nine kills by Demetre Gossett, 11 digs by Zach McEntire and 19 assists by Kaina Alvarez. IVC hit .444 as a team.

It will be a whole lot tougher for the Lasers on Wednesday night when they host No. 3 and defending state champion Orange Coast in a conference opener at 6 p.m.

OCC had last week off from action. It last played Mar. 3, sweeping Miramar, 25-18, 25-14, 25-17, at home.

In that contest, Sebastian Lara had 11 kills and Niall Finnegan added nine kills and hit .583 for the Pirates. Landon Seymour contributed 31 assists and Hide Nakamura chipped in 11 digs.

San Diego Mesa is No. 4 for the third consecutive week. The Olympians rallied for a 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-10 win over No. 8 Santiago Canyon at home Wednesday.

TJ Letuligasenoa finished with 20 kills, Austin Kinnear had 14 kills and nine digs and Isaack Grant added 13 kills and 13 digs for Mesa. Colton Pillsbury ran the offense with 45 assists. Cameron Grammatica ended with 20 kills for the Hawks.

Mesa takes on tied for fifth Miramar Wednesday night.

Santa Barbara City and Miramar tied for fifth in this week’s poll. Santa Barbara City split matches, losing to Long Beach in three and then sweeping LA Pierce, while Miramar swept at Golden West.

The rest of the top 10 includes Moorpark at No. 7, Santiago Canyon at No. 8, Santa Monica and No. 10 and Antelope Valley rounding out the poll.

As far as state leaders go, Cameron Grammatica of Santiago Canyon is tops in kills per set (4.42). Irvine Valley’s Adam Schulte leads in digs per set (3.70), Santiago Canyon’s Adam Masura is best in hitting percentage (.389), Santiago Canyon’s Caleb Merold leads in blocks per set (1.31) and Irvine Valley’s Demetre Gossett is tops in aces (0.78).

(Brent Shaver, MVCA)

Highlighted student-athlete of the week: Sebastian Lara (Outside Hitter, So., Orange Coast)

IRVINE - Orange Coast has been in the top three in the state poll all three weeks so far and Lara has been a big reason why. The 6-4 outside hitter is averaging 3.24 kills and 0.59 aces and hitting .313 on the year for the No. 3 Pirates, who have a record of 8-2 overall. Lara has recorded five matches with at least 10 digs, including a high of 22 in OCC’s five set win at San Diego Mesa on Feb. 24. He had 11 kills, two aces and two blocks in Orange Coast’s last match played – a sweep over Miramar on Mar. 3.