El Camino men’s volleyball team takes early lead, only to fall flat in conference title match against Long Beach City College

All of the hype, all of the pressure, it’s here.

Warriors, Vikings, conference title on the line and trip to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed from the Western State isn’t just another men’s volleyball match.

It’s the season-finale and what more can you ask of then a topsy-turvy thrill-ride of a four-set finish.

Because Long Beach’s Cyrus Fa’agolo and El Camino’s Cesar Medina are starring tonight and it’s kill after kill.

Medina finished with 13 on a rough night that began with the Warriors taking the first set.

“You’ve seen how it gets when we get it going,” EC coach Dick Blount said. “We’re good, but (we lack) mental toughness to finish games.”

The No. 4 Warriors would fall in four hard-fought sets (25-27, 25-23, 26-24, 25-21) against the No. 3 Long Beach City College Vikings on Friday night.

“It’s consistency man,” Medina said. “We weren’t consistent and it’s an issue we’ve had all year, and we need some energy on the court.”

EC’s one-set lead was plundered by what some fans called a case of the “home-court advantage,” but the players themselves were frustrated at the end of each of the sets, not because of the calls, but their own play.

“They didn’t beat us, I feel like they capitalized on our mistakes,” freshman middle blocker Victor Villareal said. “We beat ourselves, we started off really fast, but we (ended) up falling really fast.”

El Camino heads into playoffs with a 10-7 record overall and a 4-2 record in conference and will most likely end up the No. 6 or 7 seed, Blount said.

“All we need to do is pick up where we left off against Santa Monica,” sophomore outside hitter PJ Tulikihihifo said. “Everybody needs to find their mojo and play as a team, we just need to practice on defense.”