Men’s volleyball triumphs over Lasers

Warriors outside hitter Casey Wood spikes the ball past Irvine Valley College on Friday, April 17. The Warriors defeated the Lasers 3-0 in the first round of the Southern California Regional playoffs. Photo credit: John Fordiani

El Camino led 2-0 in sets.

In set three, the Lasers had a 25-24 lead needing only one point to alleviate the possibility of being swept. The Lasers served a long ball that went out of bounds and El Camino was back in action with the score tied at 25.

The Warriors served, and the Lasers’ attacker smashed the ball into the hands of sophomore middle blocker Peter Nordel. The ball went straight down on the Lasers’ side of the court, and El Camino took a 26-25 lead.

With Lasers’ fans hoping that the visitors rallied back, El Camino served another ball, but the Lasers’ receive went up and the attack went long. The crowd was cheering for El Camino, while those supporting the Lasers were making sounds and comments of disbelief.

The No. 2 seed of the Western State Conference, El Camino, hosted the No. 3 seed of the Pacific Coast Conference, Irvine Valley College (IVC) for the first round of playoffs.

The Warriors took out the Lasers in the first set.

“We played them before,” Coach Dick Blount said. “We had a fair understanding of what they would bring.”

Losing 22-25 in the second set, IVC tried to come back, but the Warriors quickly dealt them a 2-0 set deficit heading into the third set.

But the Lasers would not go down without a fight. The Lasers pushed to an 11-6 lead, and Blount called for their second and final timeout of the set.

“I usually talk about shoving my foot up their (expletive),” Blount said. “But this time, I said that we need to take this slowly. We need to crawl back.”

The third set was very close and although the set score shows a sweep. By no means was it so easy for the players.

“We played well the first two sets,” Nordel said. “I think, had we lost that third set, it might have gone to five.”

With the win over the Lasers, EC will head to San Diego on April 23 to face the No. 1 seed of the Pacific Coast Conference, Grossmont College.

Earlier in the season the Warriors beat Grossmont in four sets, but “that was the beginning of the season. They’re a different team, and so are we,” Blount said.

Freshman middle blocker Peter Sarmiento said previously that he was hoping for Grossmont to come to El Camino for the first round of playoffs. IVC was the third seed instead.

“They were good,” Sarmiento said. “They were stronger in the beginning of the season, or maybe we just got better.”

Captain and sophomore outside hitter Casey Wood felt that IVC player Cole Murray was a good show-up for the Lasers. Murray, who is coming off of an knee-injury had nine kills and two block assists on the night.

“There is one hit that basically went over my head,” Wood said. “Doing that with a bad knee is intense. If I had to say one thing about him he was ‘studly.'”