Women’s volleyball team outlasts Long Beach City in five-set thriller to win sole possession of conference championship

There’s a reason why one team is ranked No. 8 in the state and why another is ranked No. 22.

Normally, it’s because the people who do the rankings compare overall balance, team chemistry, strength of schedule, quality of wins, etc.

So despite an early lead for the lower-ranked Long Beach City College Vikings, the higher-ranked El Camino women’s volleyball team proved why it’s the undisputed champion of the South Coast South Conference.

“I think we’re a little more balanced than Long Beach,” EC head coach Le Valley Pattison said, prior to today’s match.

It showed tonight.

LBCC sophomore outside hitter Sarah Miller dominated tonight with 26 kills.

Unfortunately, EC sophomore opposite hitter Taylor Brydon (19 kills) and the visiting Warriors proved to be too much of a task for the Vikes to handle.

Brydon had the supporting cast to win the match, and Miller did not have such a luxury (Long Beach had zero other players with double-digits, EC had three).

“After (we lost) the second game,” Brydon said. “We went out into the foyer, we regained our focus and just played. Before game point, I looked at Nina and I said, ‘give me the ball and I’ll put it away.’ That’s (how it happened).”

The No. 8 Warriors (21-3 overall, 8-0 in conference) reverse swept the No. 22 Vikings (18-4, 6-2) tonight (27-29, 19-25, 25-18, 25-13, 15-10) to complete the third-consecutive undefeated season as conference champions.

“We sure did play a lot of volleyball,” Pattison said following the victory. “(Sarah) is solid, but when you only have one person to key on, it’s a little easier to take them out of the game.”

Handling Miller was one of the biggest keys going into tonight’s match, but the Long Beach workhouse had 72 total attempts tonight and throughout the night she seemed gassed.

Which led to many chants from the El Camino baseball team, “Sa-rah’s tired, Sa-rah’s tired,” whenever she made one of her 12 attacking errors.

The Warriors will now head into the playoffs as a top 10 team, but tonight wasn’t about playoffs, it was about Pattison for one player.

“(Her retirement) actually inspired us more to go and take this W, because it’s (Pattison’s) last game (as coach),” sophomore libero Michelle Shimamoto (26 digs, two aces) said. “We wanted to prove that her coaching is pretty much the best out here.”