Volleyball’s Great Season Comes to a Bitter Close

Mt. SAC Volleyball puts on a valiant effort against Orange Coast College

The Mounties ready on defense.

A season filled with amazing diving saves, precise volleys and explosively dominant spikes comes to a tough end. Finishing the season off second in conference with a 14-4 record, the Mounties were having their best season in three years. For this first round of SoCal Regional Playoffs, Mt. SAC Volleyball were looking to keep their great season alive against Orange Coast College Pirates on Nov. 23.

Heading into this game both predominantly freshman teams had similar records, and OCC could not have been any more perfect of a match for the Mounties. Mt. SAC had the added challenge of not having explosive freshman outside hitter Riley Degroot, due to injury. This was going to be a true test for the Mounties season.

The game started off similar to most of the games they played this season. The Mounties shot out to an early lead, controlling the game from the beginning. It seemed as if the Mounties were going to have a smooth first set until Orange Coast began cutting their lead down. The Pirates would narrow the lead to two points, which caused the Mounties to call a timeout.

The lead would stand 16-14 Mounties after the timeout, but Mt. SAC would relinquish their lead to the Pirates in the closing possessions. Despite fighting valiantly, they dropped their first set to OCC.

The second set would almost be an exact carbon copy of the first. The Mounties would struggle out the gate, rally back, and their efforts would be too late. This would put Mt. SAC on the edge of elimination, falling back 0-2 in sets. The third and possibly final set would exactly be where the Mounties would have to flip the switch.

As soon as the Mounties hopped back on the court after the set break, they looked panicked. Setter Ally Euston would pump her team up telling them to “Come On, Let’s Bring it!” Euston hoped that it would help the team whip back into shape, but the first couple of possessions of the set looked like it was going to be more of the same.

The Mounties looked like they were in hot water, being down 5-0 at the beginning of the third set, yet Libero Riannel Arevalo hustled for her team. Arevalo dived over and over again for every tossup ball just to keep her team’s chances of scoring alive.

Her hustle led to the Mounties going on an incredible run. It would be ignited by an amazing play by opposite hitter Michelle Walters. Arevalo made another critical save that set up an explosive kill by Walters that was highlighted by Arevalo screaming “Get Some!” in the background. The Mounties would take the third, 25-15, to keep their playoff hopes alive yet again.

The Mounties went into the fourth set looking like the same team from the beginning of the season, highly confident and intense from the beginning. Mt. SAC would overpower the OCC Pirates by attacking them with devastating blocks and strategic tips. The Mounties defense made an impact in this game, and outside hitter JJ Quarrels would make her mark with some insane saves running out of bounds or tipping the ball off at the last minute. This intensity by the Mounties would be too much for Orange Coast and the Mounties would win the fourth set to force a fifth and final set.

The Mounties season led up to this last and final set. This game was going to decide if they would continue on to the next round of SoCal Regional Playoffs, and the Mounties went into the last set looking extra confident. The set would start out with teams trading score after score, and OCC was not going to make it easy for the Mounties to take the last set. The Mountie would take a small lead at 7-5, but their momentum was cut short by a few controversial calls by the referees. OCC would then go on a commanding run to force a tie with the Mounties at 8-8. This caused the Mounties to call a timeout as they needed to time to regroup

Mt. SAC came back from the break looking uncharacteristically panicked again. Although they tried to keep it together in order to stop OCC’s momentum, it would be too little too late. OCC would overwhelm the Mounties defense and take the game at 15-9.

The Mounties had come out the gate surprising everyone with their amazing win streak. Their season ended after defeating some of the toughest opponents in the region and fighting to the very end in the playoffs.