Men's volleyball comes from behind against rival El Camino Real
The Santa Monica College men's volleyball team, according to head coach John Mayer, has a mantra, "treat every game like it's a championship game."
Friday evening's match against the El Camino Real Warriors may have been the best example of the Corsair men living up to its mantra, coming from behind to beat the previously undefeated Warriors 3-2.
The fourth meeting between the two southern California powerhouses in just over a year and the first since their April 23 playoff battle could have easily been mistaken for a state playoff game as both sides reacted to each point as if they had been championship points.
"Last year we beat them at their house, they beat us at our house and we got them in the playoffs, so here was definitely a little bit of [animosity] in the field," sophomore opposite Taylor Tattersall said.
For the Warriors, the combination of sophomore setter Chris Griebenow and freshman outside hitter Chris Medina held control of the game through the middle three sets.
Griebenow 59 recorded assits aided on Medina's 17 kills and sophomore outside hitter
After the third set, Mayer, "matched up Tattersall to get him blocking and serve a little bit tougher," in order to negate the power of Medina.
It was the service game that brought SMC back as the blue and white rode the hot hands of freshman middle blocker and opposite Daniel Vaziri and sophomore outside hitter Luis Palos who combined for five of the Corsairs services aces on the night.
Once the power of Gibbenow-Medina connection, the Warriors appeared to be out of sorts and started to make mental mistakes, leading ECR to commit 30 errors on the night.
Despite falling behind, the Corsairs were more efficient than the Warriors, who came into the game first in both kills and assists per set, finishing the game with a 48.4 kill percentage. The Warriors only connected on 28.4 percent of their attempted kills.
Though Mayer admitted that he was excited for the win, he was quick to turn his praise to his players. "They deserve all the credit," Mayer said. "They hung with it after being down two sets to one."
The two powers of the Western State Conference will meet again at El Camino on March 25 and appear to be destined for a playoff engagement.
"We learned they are really good," Mayer said. "We're going to have to break the film more to break some stuff down. We stuck it out tonight but we have to get better to beat them again."
The win vaults the Corsairs to the top of the Western State Conference at 2-0 in conference and 7-1 overall. The Warriors fall to 1-1 in conference and 8-1 overall.
SMC's next game is Wednesday at Los Angeles Trade Tech.