TORRANCE, Calif. – No. 3 seeded El Camino College had to fight off an upset bid in the opening round of the California Community College Athletic Association Women's Volleyball Southern California Regionals on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the Warriors surged out ahead with a furious first set and never looked back as they scored a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-16) victory over No. 6 seed MiraCosta at the ECC South Gym.
The victory secured the Warriors' (23-3) second trip to the CCCAA State Championships in the last three seasons and also marks the fourth time in the last five seasons the Warriors are amongst the final eight teams left standing in the state.
The Spartans' season ends with a record of 22-4.
Phina Leilua led the Warriors with 12 kills and seven digs while Renee Brydon added nine kills on 12 swings without an error to lead the team with a .750 attacking percentage. Meris Ewell had seven kills on 12 swings without an error (.583) and Sophia Loiola added six kills on 10 swings with one error (.500).
The Warriors set the tone right from the beginning, jumping out to an astonishing 15-0 lead in the first set. Loiola smashed five of her six kills in the opening frame and the Spartans did not get on the board until Loiola had her first and only attacking error of the match.
The Warriors cruised to a win in the opening set after that but were just as dominant in the second set. Leilua blasted half of her 12 kills in the second frame as ECC attacked at a .583 clip, recording 14 kills in the set on 24 swings without an error. Meanwhile, the Spartans' offensive struggles lingered from the opening frame as they nearly had as many kills (8) as they did errors (7). In the first two sets, the Spartans had posted 12 kills and 15 errors.
With a 2-0 lead into the third set, the Warriors used an 8-1 scoring run to expand a narrow lead into a nine-point cushion at 19-10 and they never looked back. Fittingly for the Spartans, an attacking error into the net on match point clinched the decision for the Warriors and punched their ticket to the CCCAA State Championships.
The Warriors will join Irvine Valley, Bakersfield and Cypress as the representatives from Southern California at Solano College in Fairfield, Calif. The CCCAA State Championships begin Friday, Nov. 30.
More info will follow on ECCWarriors.com and on twitter at @ECCWarriors.