TORRANCE, Calif. – El Camino College opened the 2019 campaign in impressive form with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-22) over the University of St. Katherine's Friday night at the ECC South Gym.
The Warriors (1-0) scored the victory over the Firebirds, a team from the National Christian College Athletic Association, thanks to a stellar debut from freshman Gabriel Vargas-Featherstone and sophomore bounce-back Cinjun Coe. The freshman from San Diego, Calif. led the team with 20 kills and just four errors on 30 swings while adding one ace, three digs and two blocks.
Coe was a menace from the service line, logging six service aces to go along with nine kills, five digs and four assists. Emerson Clinton dished out 37 of the team's 42 assists while setting the team to a collective .322 attacking percentage.
The Firebirds were led by Nik Gettman's 11 kills while Michael Orzech added 10 and Mike Greiner dished out a team-high 21 assists in the loss.
The match started out close as the teams were tied six times and traded the lead twice in the opening frame. At one point, the Firebirds held a 20-15 advantage and looked to be headed to an early lead but the Warriors rallied off four straight points, half of them coming on aces from Coe. The Warriors would close the set on a 10-3 scoring run to take the set and the early 1-0 lead.
In the next frame, the Warriors fell behind early but stayed within five at 12-7. That's when they made their move, scoring four straight points. This time, though, it was thanks to four consecutive errors from the Firebirds.
After a kill from Orzech made it 13-11, the Warriors took control with a 6-0 scoring run and they never looked back. Vargas-Featherstone blasted eight kills with just one error on 10 swings in the second to lead the Warriors to a 2-0 lead.
The Warriors had a nightmarish start to the third set, falling behind 7-2 early and trailed 18-9. Once again, the Warriors charged back, this time with an incredible 16-4 stretch to come all the way back and record the sweep. The Warriors finished off the Firebirds on Coe's serve, closing it out on a 5-0 run including two more aces from Coe.
The Warriors will head out to Antelope Valley College for their next match on Wednesday night. First serve is set for 6 p.m.