El Camino men’s volleyball team is headed to State Finals after commanding sweep over defending state champions Long Beach City College

22-all in the first set and Mr. big man in the middle comes up big with a block against the defending state champion Long Beach City College Vikings on Thursday.

Freshman middle blocker Victor Villareal paved the way for his Warriors to make a comeback in the first set.

Timeout Vikings.

After the timeout, the El Camino men’s volleyball team would go on a 3-2 run to end the first set of the California Community College Athletic Association’s men’s volleyball state semifinals, 26-24.

EC was ranked as high as No. 4 in the state during the regular season, but fell to No. 7 in the state playoffs and that gave the Warriors a chip on their shoulder.

“We were ranked No. 7,” Villareal said. “We wanted to show everyone what we could do. We beat the No. 2 team (Irvine Valley College) and now we beat the No. 3 team.”

The Warriors lost to Long Beach twice during the regular season in five sets on March 31 and four sets on April 14, respectively.

On Friday, the Warriors battled and thoroughly handed the Vikings a 26-24, 25-17 and 25-19 loss in straight sets.

Sophomore setter Pedro Campos paved the way with his 34 assists in three sets, while the defense was spread out for 20 digs between seven players.

Sophomore outside hitter Cesar Medina finished with 17 kills while sophomore PJ Tulikihihifo had 12 kills for the Warriors.

“Man, it feels so good right now,” Tulikihihifo said. “You know we saw an ad today that said Long Beach was already going to play in the State Finals, so our mentality was just to focus and play smart today.”

The Warriors await the winner of the No. 4 Santa Monica and No. 1 Orange Coast College match at 7:30 p.m.

“To me, it really doesn’t matter who’s in front of us,” freshman middle blocker/opposite hitter Jaden Misaalefua said. “If we play the way we played today, we’ll win.”

What’s happening on Saturday, April 29:

The No. 1 seeded Orange Coast Pirates came up big in a three-set sweep of their own, over the No. 4 Santa Monica College Corsairs later that day.

This is the Pirates’ third appearance in the State Finals in four years and the team’s ninth playoff appearance over the last 10 years, according to the California Community College Athletic Association’s archives.

This is just the second ever appearance in the State Finals for the Warriors, their first appearance was a four-set loss in 2015 at the hands of the Corsairs.

The Pirates were led by a trio of double-digit hitters in Matt Ujkic, Justin Kam and Jordan Hoppe, who had 13, 12 and 10 kills respectively and will now face the No. 7 El Camino Warriors on Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m.

“I think it’s going to be a battle,” Orange Coast head coach Travis Turner said. “It’s going to be a tough match for us, and a bigger factor will be if we can slow down Medina a little bit.”