TORRANCE, Calif. – Sophomore Phina Leilua was outstanding offensively as El Camino College scored a 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 16-25, 25-13) victory in its home opener against MiraCosta Wednesday night at the ECC South Gym.
The Warriors (5-0) reeled off their fifth consecutive win to open the season thanks to an excellent match from their outside hitter. Leilua set a new career high with 23 kills on 44 swings with just three errors for a match-best .455 attacking percentage. She added nine digs and one block.
Mikayla Clark chipped in with a double-double, posting 10 kills and 11 digs on the night. Caitlin Donatucci (25) and Keri Isara (19) combined for 44 of the team's 49 assists and set the Warriors to a collective .261 attacking percentage. Kelly Donatucci tied for the team lead with 11 digs and added four assists to go with two aces.
The first set featured three ties and two lead changes with the Warriors using a 9-1 scoring run to turn a one-point lead into a one-set lead. Leilua was masterful in the opening frame with seven kills and just one error as ECC attacked at a .448 clip.
For the remainder of the match, there would be no more ties or lead changes as each team led wire-to-wire. The Warriors pounced on the Spartans (4-2) in the second, jumping out to a 9-1 lead. The Spartans fought back and cut the deficit to one but it was too late as Leilua's 13th kill of the match and sixth of the second set gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans recovered in the third set, going on an 8-3 scoring run to open the frame and they never looked back. They handed the Warriors their first loss in a set this season, halting a 14-set winning streak for ECC.
In the third set, the Warriors outhit MiraCosta .500 to .103 with Leilua blasting home another seven kills on 12 swings while the defense had 12 digs in the frame to put the match away.
The Warriors will return to action Friday with the annual ECC Tri-Tournament. The Warriors will host College of the Canyons at 11 a.m. and then wrap up the day with a match against Grossmont at 3 p.m.