Volleyball clinches conference title at LBCC

After Santa Monica College Corsair freshman middle blocker Daniel Vaziri served an ace, he stared back at the crowd, his eyes piercing through those looking at him. He taunted the crowd, mimicking the rowdiness they had shown that night.

As he erred his next serve, the crowd returned fire.

The referees stopped the game and Daniel was sat down for a chance to cool off.

A battle was underway, and both teams stood face to face, refusing to go down without a fight.

This was the scene at the small gymnasium of Long Beach City College, as the Corsair men's volleyball team came away with a win, 3-2 against the LBCC Vikings.

The Corsairs clawed and mauled their way back from a 17-11 deficit in the fourth set, facing an almost certain defeat down two to one. Although the Corsairs were playing from behind much of the game, they were able to come back and take a big lead in the 5th set that led to their victory.

"It would've been easy for us to say hey, you know its been a good year so, we lose one no big deal. But the guys weren't content with that. They wanted more," said coach John Mayer.

The game took on a playoff intensity, as the Vikings needed every game as they sit one spot out off payoffs and the blue and white had their first opportunity to clinch the Western State Conference title for the first time since 2008.

From the beginning of the game the Vikings were aggressive at the line and made a total of 23 blocks to the Corsairs 15. Santa Monica are usually on the enforcing side of blocks but were beaten many times, and could not find a way to respond most of the night.

A pair of freshman were key in last nights victory, opposite hitter and co-captain Harrison Hodgin, and Vaziri. Harrison logged 12 kills and three service aces, and Daniel added 16 kills as well.

"We were down 17-11 in the 4th set, and we kicked it into another gear and came back strong," said Vaziri. Regarding his outburst on the court, Vaziri said he felt embarrassed as that is not really of his nature. However, this moment and the never say die attitude of the Corsairs, ignited them and they came out with a well deserved win.

In the fifth set, Santa Monica jumped to a 2-9 lead, with Harrison adding five kills, as well as one solo and an assisted block.

"You just gotta do all you can and fight man, it was a tough one," commented Harrison after the win.

The Vikings picked up the first set as they were playing with more intensity, and were very effective in the front line. Long Beach was able to play to their strengths, making as few errors as possible.

The second set saw a lot more equality, with the teams playing keep-away with the lead until SMC was able to win 27-25. The third set was won by LBCC who jumped to a 14-9 lead, with the crowd was behind them, pumping them up to play harder, and them winning the set 27-25.

Last nights win gives the SMC Corsairs the Western Conference title, as well as a by bye week in the playoffs.

The Corsairs have two remaining regular season games. On Friday they will travel to play LA Pierce College, and April 10, they will have their final home game of the season vs Moorpark College.