Men's volleyball serves LA Trade Tech, gets spiked by arch-rival Long Beach.

The Santa Monica College men's volleyball season appeared to get back on track last Wednesday as the Corsairs defeated the Los Angeles Trade Tech Beavers 3-0 amidst a barrage of furious digs, aces and high flying blocks.

The Corsairs' energy proved to be insurmountable as they rallied past LA Trade Tech, avenging the previous week's loss to conference leading El Camino College.

The win keeps SMC in serious contention for the Western State Conference crown. Though there was one remaining hurdle, the much anticipated showdown against the Goliath of the conference, Long Beach City College.

"We must be able to defeat Long Beach, they're one of the best. They're quick, tough and we intend to be ready," said SMC Head Coach John Mayer. "The Long Beach City Vikings, have won back to back championships (2012-2013) and have been in the thick of things for a very long time. We have to keep playing better, which I am sure we can do and if we can play better, we have a shot at many great things."

SMC entered Viking Gym at 6-3 on the season, setting the stage for a pivotal matchup against the perennial Western State powerhouse.

Before Friday's matchup, both teams had one thing in common, their only losses were to Orange Coast and El Camino College. But it did not change the fact that after Friday nights matchup, one team would emerge as a clear front runner in the race for the playoffs.

Freshman outside hitter Luis Palos might be new to the squad, but with his imposing 6-foot-6 frame and positive mental attitude, he hopes to infect the rest of his team with confidence and hard play.

"We must play hard and stay positive," said Palos. "Given our athletiicsim, we know we have a chance. With the intense talent of Long Beach confronting us, I can't help but to be real excited."

As the match got underway, the Corsairs gave the crowd exactly what they came for. During the first two sets, SMC pushed Long Beach to the brink behind Taylor Tattersall's 13 points as well as Thomas Stoekinger's 9.5.

SMC proved they belong across the net from their heated rivals, as the Corsairs came within just a few points from edging the Vikings in the early going. Unfortunately for SMC, Long Beach rallied and grabbed a 1-0 lead.

The second set was even more exciting as the Corsairs fought back to even the score at 16-16. But Long Beach did what they seem to always do over the last few years and rallied late to take the second set, 25-23.

Despite the excellent games from Tattersall and Stoekinger as well as Keats Stanley who chipped in 7.5 points, the Corsairs ultimately succumbed to the conference giants three sets to none, falling in the third and final set, 25-17.

Though disappointing, the loss dosen't spell doom for the team just yet. SMC just passed the halfway point of the season and still have home games against conference leading El Camino, second place Long Beach, and third place Moorpark.

Despite already losing to El Camino and Long Beach, both losses came on the road. If the Corsairs could split both season series and possibly sweep Moorpark, SMC could be primed for a legitimate playoff run. Especially with their two biggest matches taking place at Corsair Pavilion.

SMC will attempt to get back on track Wednesday March 12 at 6 p.m. when they travel to Los Angeles Pierce College to take on the Bulls. The Corsairs next home game will be the following Wednesday March 19 at 6 p.m.