ECC men’s volleyball team loses tightly contested match against Santa Barbara Community College

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El Camino College's men's volleyball opposite hitter Gabriel Vargas-Featherstone goes for the kill against a pair of Santa Barbara Community College defenders during a match on Friday, February 28 in the El Camino College Gym Complex. Vargas-Featherstone finished the match with 21 kills in the loss to Santa Barbara Community College. Kealoha Noguchi/The Union

In a tight game that came down to a tiebreaking two-point loss, El Camino College’s men’s volleyball team fell to Santa Barbara Community College on Friday, Feb. 28 in the ECC Gym Complex.

After winning the first set 25-19, ECC lost the next two sets 25-22 and 25-23. The Warriors were able to extend the match to a fifth set after winning another close set 26-24.

Warriors opposite hitter Gabriel Vargas-Featherstone had 21 kills to lead the team but was matched by SBCC’s Keoni Thiim’s 21 kills.

During the fifth set after ECC rallied back to make the score 13-12, SBCC called a timeout. Tied at 13-13, ECC was able to take the lead late but SBCC won the match 3-2.

“We were down 5-1, then we came back at 8-8, and at 13-13,” Warriors coach Dick Blount said. “We made a few mistakes. That’s what I told them [team], when you get to that point of the game you can’t make a mistake.”

Warriors middle blocker Tucker Merritt said the team needs to improve its in-game focus and keeping the effort on the next play for future games.

“There is definitely stuff that I can work on [to improve],” Merritt said. “Working on team effort and just trying to get in there.”

With the loss, ECC drops to five wins and three losses overall this season and zero wins and two losses in its conference.

“We made a few mistakes, mainly hitting errors. I don’t think we hit as best as we could,” Warriors outside hitter Luke Sussman said. “[We need to be] making sure we hit the ball in and make it tougher for them [opposing team].”

The Warriors’ next game will be on the road against Moorpark College on Wednesday, March 4 at 6 p.m.