Comeback falls short as El Camino men’s volleyball team loses thriller against Long Beach City College

Two up, two down. The set score is tied and it’s going to a fifth and final set.

The No. 4 El Camino men’s volleyball team hosted the No. 3 Long Beach City College Vikings on Friday night, and there was so much hype behind it.

Besides the rankings, the team’s are conference rivals and have always been at each other’s throats.

During the women’s volleyball game in 2016 (between LBCC and EC), the defending state champion Vikings men’s volleyball team came and at one point, began cheering, “The guys’ team sucks, the guys’ team sucks.”

The Warriors had to do whatever it took to finish this match.

But Steven Rotter wanted nothing to do with a comeback.

The sophomore opposite hitter from Long Beach dialed up EC sophomore outside hitter PJ Tulikihihifo’s number and blocked him three times in five points to give the Vikings a 6-3 lead.

“PJ was ill yesterday and he was tonight,” EC coach Dick Blount said. “There’s a lot of heart on this team. I like to use an expression my dad used to tell me, ‘We lost the first half of the game, let’s win the second half.'”

Long Beach (12-3, 3-0) would give up some points but eventually outlasted El Camino (8-6, 2-1) in five sets (25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-13) on Friday night.

The Vikings’ offense was skewed heavily in the fact that 50 of their 55 kills came from three players: Cyrus Fa’alogo (20), Travis O’Gorman (20) and Steven Rotter (10).

EC sophomore outside hitter Cesar Medina struggled mightily tonight, hitting for 20 kills with 11 errors and a .180 attacking percentage (his worst ever at EC).

“I wasn’t pleased with my performance tonight,” Medina said. “That’s something I’m going to decide myself, because I know I can do better.”

Freshman opposite hitter and middle blocker Jaden Misaalefua said the team needs to keep the energy high.

“I just played every point,” he said. “(Expletive) was going through my head, but I couldn’t (focus on that).”