COSTA MESA -- A long day of volleyball kicked off the 2021 season for the Orange Coast College women's volleyball team, but in the end, it was all worth it as the Pirates picked up a pair of four-set wins on Friday inside the Peterson Gym.
Coast kicked off Friday's three-team series of matches with a 25-13, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21 win over Rio Hondo College. Brisa Zepata-Reaves led the OCC offense in the opener with 13 kills. Faith Jones collected 11 kills from the right side, while outside hitter Sara Enright came through with 10 kills. Libero Emily Payne anchored the defense with 10 digs, while setter Ellie Winter dished out 45 assists.
In the first set, Coast set the tempo early and ran out to a 12-3 advantage with Zepata-Reaves and Jones slamming down a pair of kills each during that span.
Rio Hondo couldn't get on track in the opener as the Pirates cruised to an easy set-one win.
With head coach Chuck Cutenese using these opening matches to learn more about his club, the lineups were switched around in the second set and Rio Hondo took the early advantage with a 15-8 lead. Coast battled back and got to within three on a few occasions, but the Roadrunners held off the hosts and evened the match with a 25-21 win.
That Roadrunner momentum didn't last very long as the Pirates returned serve on the guests and jumped out to a 16-9 edge. The lead was six at 19-13 before the Pirates ripped off the next six points to close the set out. Zepata-Reaves had three kills over that span, while Enright added a pair to give OCC a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the closest set of the match, Coast led only by a pair at 15-13 before a series of mini-runs helped push the lead up to six at 22-16. Rio Hondo battled back to within three but the Pirates hung out to end the match with a 25-21 win.
In the evening matchup, Coast took on Santa Monica City College and much like the opener, overcame a second-set stumble to top the Corsairs, 25-7, 21-25, 25-16, 25-12. Jones was the offensive pacesetter for the nightcap, leading the way with 15 kills, while Summer Hanks added 12. Payne again led the Pirate defense with 13 digs, while Winter ran the offense well with 35 assists.
Coast will return to the Peterson Gym on Wednesday against Citrus College, beginning at 5 p.m.