Early hole too much for Corsairs to overcome

The Santa Monica College men’s volleyball team suffered a late fifth-set loss Wednesday night at the hands of the Long Beach City College Vikings, dropping the Corsairs' record to 3-6.

The Vikings, who are at the top of the conference standings with a record of 8-1, needed all the strength they could gather to narrowly edge the Corsairs 15-13 in the final set and win the match 3-2.

The Corsairs were off to a promising start, winning the first set 25-23, behind hard-nosed play-by-opposite hitter Charlie Schmittdiel.

"I’m willing to do anything for my team," said Schmittdiel. "Those are my brothers out there."

Although the Corsairs started off strongly, it was the Vikings who would win the second set behind a block party from middle blocker Eron Liddie, and the third with a late rally after trailing.

With all the momentum on Long Beach’s side, it took everything SMC could muster to force a fifth set. Behind Schmittdiel’s defense and captain Zach Brown’s three spikes over a six-point span, the Corsairs gave it all they could.

The Vikings, however, scored the last two points of the shortened fifth set, edging the Corsairs and pulling out the hotly contested victory.

Although the loss was the fifth in a row for the Corsairs, they tried to keep a positive attitude, taking solace in the fact that they were able to push the top team to the brink.

"I’m so happy with how everyone played tonight," said Schmittdiel. "No matter what adversity my team goes through, I’m going to be there for them."

Schmittdiel, who won the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section championship his senior year at Santa Monica High School, could be heard rallying teammates throughout the match.

A standout on the court, the energetic sophomore is looking at possibly transferring to a Division I college in the near future.

“I’m feeling Hawaii," said Schmittdiel. "My whole life, I've always had Hawaii in the back of my mind.”

After starting the season well at 3-1, the Corsairs have hit a tough patch. But with the top three teams in the conference advancing to the playoffs, all the Corsairs need is a little hot streak to finish the season.

The Corsairs will try to snap their losing skid at home against Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday at 6 p.m.