El Camino downed by Long Beach City College in men’s Volleyball State Semifinals


The El Camino College Warriors come together in a group huddle before the start of their next play against the Long Beach City College Vikings during the CCCAA State Semifinals at the El Camino Gym on Thursday, April 21. The Warriors would ultimately lose the match to the Vikings after four hard fought sets. (Ethan Cohen | The Union)

Cheers roared throughout the El Camino College Gym Complex as nearly 400 people sit in attendance for the semifinals matchup between the El Camino Warriors and Long Beach Vikings.

As the bright, yellow numbers tick down on the scoreboard, both teams are warming up on the court for their tie-breaking match after a long season filled with excitement and heartbreak.

Just two weeks prior they had faced each other in what turned out to be a hot streak-breaking loss for the Warriors after winning ten straight in conference matchups and the loss of their captain, middle blocker Ethan Morgan due to injury.

Warriors coach, Richard Blount, who has been with the team for 21 seasons, said that Morgan tore a ligament in his ankle after an opponent from Long Beach went under the net after a play benching him for the remainder of the season.

“We have another captain and we have other leaders, so we feel very good,” Blount said.

Blount told The Union at the beginning of the match that he feels confident going into the game, pointing toward the Warriors’ early-season sweep against the Vikings at home and hopes to once again take the edge.

“I like that we are at home,” Blount said, “no more, no less the Vikings are a good team and we have to respect them.”

As the lead set started, the Warriors struggled to keep up with the Vikings’ lightning-fast offense as they collected 19 kills, causing them to fall behind in the first set of play, losing 19-25.

However, the Warriors hit back as they rallied in the next set, gaining a total of 14 kills and taking advantage of the Vikings’ nine errors, winning the second set 25-20.

Warriors' outside hitter Andrew White (left) and middle blocker Spencer Isley (middle) jump up to block a spike from Vikings' middle blocker Alfred Dougherty (right) at the CCCAA State Semifinals match on Thursday, April 21. (Ethan Cohen | The Union)
Warriors’ outside hitter Andrew White (left) and middle blocker Spencer Isley (middle) jump up to block a spike from Vikings’ middle blocker Alfred Dougherty (right) during the CCCAA State Semifinals match at the El Camino Gym on Thursday, April 21. Isley would ultimately get the block and earn the Warriors a point for the play. (Ethan Cohen | The Union)

As the pressure mounted and the Warriors’ momentum grew, the third set ultimately drew the most noise as the teams battled neck and neck, going past regulation with the score tied 19 times as both teams never traded a lead more than two points ahead of another.

Ultimately, the Vikings gained the upper hand and took the set 30-28 against the Warriors.

Warriors Middle blocker Spencer Isley, 21, lamented their loss of the third set stating that he felt the Warriors could ride the momentum and turn the game around in their favor, but eventually a few errors and the Vikings’ offense overwhelmed them.

“I thought that this was it, this was the turning point of everything,” Isley said. “I still thought that after we lost we could come back.”

Fighting tooth and nail, Isley said that the Warriors were trying to put out everything they got onto the floor, but their spark burned out and were shut down by the Vikings’ defense.

“I was upset because I felt like they were digging everything I threw at them,” Isley said. “I had a ton of attempts but they just dug it all.”

In the end, the Warriors’ momentum died off in the fourth set earning the Vikings the match win.

Game leaders in kills included Vikings’ outside hitter Julian Zavala with a staggering 24 kills followed by Warriors Dylan Garcia, Travis Hannemann and Andrew White tied at 12 kills each.

Warrior's outside hitter Andrew White rips a spike over a Viking's three man block in the CCCAA State Semifinals match on Thursday, April 21. The Vikings would ultimately win the match. (Ethan Cohen | The Union)
Warrior’s outside hitter Andrew White rips a spike over a Viking’s three man block during the first set of play during the CCCAA State Semifinals match at the El Camino Gym on Thursday, April 21. The Vikings would successfully defend against the spike and rally for the point. (Ethan Cohen | The Union)

Vikings’ middle blocker Marc Kramer, 22, told The Union that the Warriors are a team that rides on momentum, so it was essential for them to come out firing and shut them down quickly.

“Towards the end of the first set, we let them get their engines going and that carried over to the second set which they ended up winning,” Kramer said.

Kramer said that the Warriors’ momentum was hard to overcome in the third set but the Vikings stuck to their strengths and came out victorious in the long run moving them closer to the state championship title.

“We’re going to be up against a team that has beaten us before and that we have beaten before,” Kramer said, “Orange Coast College is a good team, but our strengths far outweigh theirs and highlight their weaknesses.”

For El Camino, the men’s volleyball season comes to an end with an overall standing of 14-6.

Long Beach City College advances to the CCCAA State Championships against Orange Coast College at the El Camino Gym Complex on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m.