El Camino men’s volleyball team snaps losing streak against Santa Monica College

The taste of victory is ever so sweet.

Three years, 24 days, five regular-season games and two post-season match ups, including a loss in the 2015 state championship match.

That’s how long it’s been and what’s happened since No. 7 El Camino’s men’s volleyball team last beat conference-rival No. 4 Santa Monica College.

Behind sophomore stand outs Cesar Medina’s 24 kills and PJ Tulikihihifo’s 14 kills, the Warriors (8-5 overall, 2-0 in conference) toppled the Corsairs (11-3, 0-2) in four sets (17-25, 25-21, 25-11, 25-22) on Friday night.

“I didn’t even mention to the (players about the losing streak) before the game,” EC coach Dick Blount said.

But the first set was a struggle for the Warriors. At one point they were down 21-9, until Tulikihihifo tagged some kills on the backline.

This pushed the Warriors to end the set on a 8-4 run, before the Corsairs finished up the set. The late run in the first gave way to some momentum for the visitors.

“It was actually pretty sweet (to win),” Medina said. “Especially the bench, they gave us the energy and the extra push to end the game.”

After the first set, it was all EC, fighting and looking like a top team in the state.

“Once we get the energy up, we’re hard to beat,” sophomore setter Pedro Campos said.

EC’s serve receive and the unforced errors in the first set was borderline horrendous, which was the main reason why the Corsairs took that set with a lead.

Following that set, Blount told his team to earn their own points.

The team made some changes, substituting sophomore outside hitter Chris Phanngam in for freshman opposite Matthew Donatucci and freshman opposite hitter Jaden Misaalefua for sophomore middle blocker Matt Carter.

“It was just a spot I had to fill,” Misaalefua said. “It was time to step up and I came in and did it today.”