Mt. SAC beach volleyball: The undefeated conference champions for the first time – ever

The Mounties wrapped up their season with another pair of win


Christie Yeung

The beach volleyball team posing with their South Coast Conference champions’ banner as their regular season ends.

On Friday, April 21, the beach volleyball team finished their season against the Cerritos Falcons and Rio Hondo Roadrunners, the second meeting between these three schools this season. The Mounties played against the Falcons at the beginning of this month, on April 7, and against the Roadrunners just last week, on April 14. They swept both teams 5-0.

The third reunion continued the winning streak.

Freshman Paige Gutowski (4) attempting to block the Falcons’ tipping one over the net. (Christie Yeung)

To start the day, the Mounties swept the Falcons again by winning all five pairs’ matches in two sets. The 1’s pair, freshman Paige Gutowski (4) and sophomore Riley De Groot (20), took the match by 21-6 and 21-14. The 2’s sophomore pair Bristol Christelman (3) and Allison Whiteman (23) won their match by 21-8 and 21-11. The other sophomore pair, the 3’s, Riannel Arevalo (1) and Angelina Burton (15), defeated their opponents by 21-12 and 22-20.

A new 4’s pair combination played together for the first time this season. Freshman Zyra Green (10), who sometimes pairs up with sophomore Kylie Rhodes (5), played with freshman Capri Salmon (22) this time and got their first win together by the scores of 21-17 and 21-12. The 5’s pair, Rhodes (5) and sophomore JJ Quarrels (11) completed the sweep by winning 21-10 and 21-10.

Next up was the Rio Hondo Roadrunners, which the Mounties did not get to sweep this time.

The 1’s pair, Gutowski (4) and De Groot (20) set the tone early by taking the match in two sets, 21-14 and 21-17. The winning way was followed by the usual 4’s pair, Elizabeth “Liz” Ortiz (21) and Salman (22), as they won the match in two sets, 21-15 and 21-16. The 5’s pair, Rhodes (5) and Green (10) paired up again to take another match in two sets, 21-13 and 21-18.

Despite dropping their first set, 21-18, to the Falcons, the 2’s pair, Christelman (3) and Whiteman (23) would fight back to take the next two sets, 21-8 and 15-11, to win this matchup.

However, the Mounties would suffer the only loss of the day in the 3’s pair match, as Arevalo (1) and Burton (15) dropped two sets, 19-21 and 10-15, after winning the first set, 21-17.

Sophomore Angelina Burton (15) shooting one over the net against the Roadrunners. (Christie Yeung)

But overall, the Mounties won 4-1.

Results like this happened throughout the season – the Mounties won all but one of their regular season games.

The team’s only loss was a 3-2 defeat in a non-conference game against the Orange Coast Pirates early into the season. Since then, they have been unstoppable, riding on a 20-game winning streak to end the regular season with a record of 22-1 overall and 10-0 in the conference, capturing the South Coast Conference Championship.

“After today’s wins, we have officially solidified the title of UNDEFEATED Conference Champs for the first time in program history!! I’m incredibly proud of this team and for the continuous hard work and effort they put in for each other,” Coach Danielle Diaz shared in an email.

It has been an incredible regular season, the 1’s pair, Gutowski (4) and De Groot (20) were 21-2, along with Ortiz (21), who was undefeated, 23-0, overall this season.

“There are so many amazing things to celebrate, but we also know that this next road will be even tougher, and we will need to continue to stay humble and focused to be ready for post-season,” Diaz continued.

The first round of the SCC Pairs Tournament will begin on April 28-29 at Long Beach City College.