Laying out the Men's Volleyball playoff possibilities
Volleyball is a game of situation and control. The setter gives an outside hitter, or opposite, a good set which allows the kill to go to any of the opposing players. The blockers read the play of the opponent and put the wall in a spot to send the ball back from where it came. After a victory over the El Camino College Warriors on Friday, the Corsairs have found themselves in a situation where they control their own destiny as the team reaches the halfway point of the season and heads towards the playoffs.
The game that head coach Jackson Metichecchia’s men should circle, highlight, star, bold and announce on a blimp is their return match against the Western State Conference leading Long Beach City College Vikings on April 8.
Long Beach will likely welcome the Corsairs into the Viking gym either having clinched or needing a win to clinch the top spot in the WSC as the Vikings will meet the cellar dwellers of the conference for the next two weeks.
The Vikings will not face a significant challenge until they battle the Warriors and the Corsairs in the same week.
The Corsairs may find themselves in the odd position of rooting for their recent rivals the Warriors. If ECC is able to put a blemish on LBCC’s so far undefeated conference record, it could allow SMC back into the race for the WSC crown.
No matter whose head the conference crown rests upon, the second match between the Warriors and the Corsairs will decide the fate of both teams in the postseason.
After SMC’s 3-0 win over El Camino on Friday, which showed a marked improvement in both mental toughness and hitting accuracy, the Corsairs gained a firm hold on second place in the WSC.
The second match up will take place at El Camino on the final Friday of the season, April 13, and will be the second challenge the Corsairs will face that week after meeting LBCC the Wednesday before.
It will also be the final game of the season for the Warriors which could be the difference between the second and third spot in the WSC.
Staying above the second WSC spot is imperative for the Corsairs, as it would guarantee that SMC would get at least one playoff game at home, where they are 4-1, against the third place finisher in the Pacific Coast Conference.
Should they stay in second, the Corsairs could face Grossmont, San Diego Mesa or Irvine Valley who are all tied for third in the PCC.
SMC is 1-3 against their possible first round opponents, having defeated San Diego Mesa but losing to Grossmont in El Cajon and Irvine Valley at the Orange Coast College Tournament.
There is one team currently on the outside of the playoffs who might have a say in the final WSC seed: the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros.
The Vaqs sit one game behind the Warriors in fourth place but have a game in hand on the Warriors.
In their first meeting at El Camino, the Vaqueros hit .083, their second lowest percentage of the season and sophomore outside hitter Taylor McCluskey hit -.083. Both performances should be viewed as outliers and the second to last game for the Warriors could be a battle to secure the final playoff spot in the WSC.
The final game of the season for the Corsairs, at home against Moorpark, may become elementary if the blue and white can take advantage of the situations ahead of them. Either way, it should be a close and interesting race.