SMC men's volleyball: a championship season in review
As the final ball fell to the floor at San Diego City College, The Santa Monica College Corsairs men's volleyball team erupted in celebration. They had just defeated the El Camino College Warriors 3-1, to earn their first state title since 1981.
The scene that followed came straight out of the end scene of a video game. There was the storming of the court and the team trophy shot and of course team leader, sophomore Taylor Tattersall was named mos valuable player. The only thing that was missing was the pouring of champagne...it was a community college championship after all.
The Corsairs had come a long way from the depths of defeat one year earlier.
Last season the Corsairs suffered a loss in the State finals to Orange Coast College, 3-2. Fast forward one year later and the Corsairs were able to eliminate the reigning champions in the semi-finals, 3-0, earning their spot in the final.
The Corsairs had a historic season, including a 13 win streak and only one loss in conference play.
With only 2 losses this season, Santa Monica was a force to be reckoned with. They had an outstanding and balanced squad which included 3 selections into the 2015 All-State Tournament team: Opposite Taylor Tattersall, Middle Blocker Daniel Vaziri, and Outside Hitter Luis Palos.
Santa Monica started off their season with games against the Pacific Coast conference. They would suffer one loss against Grossmont on February 10 that ended 3-2. SMC would then begin its 13 game win streak that ended April 3 against LA Pierce College, 3-1.
There were very few games that pushed the Corsairs to the limit, but there were two games in the same week that really tested the Corsairs ability and tenacity.
The first was against Santa Barbara Community College, who took the Corsairs to the fifth set after Santa Monica had jumped to a 2-0 lead. The final score of the fifth set read 18-16 with the Corsairs narrowly escaping with the win.
The second game of that week was against El Camino. Santa Monica would again go to a fifth set. The game saw the teams trade the lead, and Santa Monica would go down 2-1, but their resilience would be put on display as they came back to win two straight sets and win the game 3-2.
This was the first of three games that these two teams would play in the season and it painted an image that showed quality games to come.
Santa Monica would then cruise to easier victories, never going past the fourth set for seven straight games.
Their next challenge came against the Long Beach City College Vikings who they defeated 3-1 in their first meeting, dropping the first set, but winning the remaining sets.
The Corsairs would then travel to Long Beach for their second meeting of the season. This was definitely amongst the toughest games in their season. The game would go to the fifth set, after the Vikings jumped to a 2-1 lead in sets, and had an 11-17 lead in the 4th set. The Corsairs fought their way to a well earned win that would help them clinch the Western Conference, as well as the bye week in playoffs.
The second game between El Camino and Santa Monica had a surprising score of 3-0 as the Corsairs swept the game and regular season series from the Warriors. The game was still a tough match as El Camino showed why they were only one game behind Santa Monica in the conference. Nonetheless the Corsairs won a tough road game, and the second of third meetings, the other being in the final.
The Corsairs would suffer their only conference loss of the season against LA Pierce on April 3. Santa Monica committed 20 service errors in the game, and lost the third and fourth sets with the score being 25-23.
With an impressive record of 18-2, the Corsairs will go into a well deserved off season after winning the title that had eluded them for so long.