Pirates earn No. 9 seed, will play at Mt. SAC

Pirates earn No. 9 seed, will play at Mt. SAC

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team will travel to Mt. San Antonio College to take on the Mounties in the opening round of the Southern California Regional playoffs on Tuesday night, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Pirates (19-5) earned a No. 9 seed for this year's regional after finishing tied for second in the Orange Empire Conference with Irvine Valley (IVC won the tiebreaker and earned a No. 7 seed).

The eight-seeded Mounties (20-6) finished alone in second place in the South Coast Conference, behind the regional's No. 2 seed, Pasadena City College (23-1). The winner of Wednesday's match will travel to Bakersfield College to take on the top-seeded Renegades (20-1) on Saturday night, beginning at 6 p.m.

OCC's offense has been led throughout the year by freshman outside Summer Hanks, who came through with 264 kills to go along with 169 digs and 41 total blocks. Joining Hanks in the 200-kill Club was fellow slugger Sara Enright, who racked up 200 kills, 244 digs, 25 aces and 18 total blocks.

Coast will have its offense begin/end with its two quality setters, freshman Ellie Winter and Amanda Cueva. Winter dished out 561 assists to go along with 87 digs, while Cueva added 291 assists, 22 aces and 99 digs.

On a team that prides itself with defense and passing, look for libero Emily Payne to be all over the Mt. SAC gym floor on Wednesday. The freshman from Rancho Cucamonga HS came through with a team-best 493 digs this year, which is already fifth-best in OCC women's volleyball history. 

For the Mounties, led by first-year coach Samantha Neely, they have won 14-of-16, with their lone losses over that span coming against Pasadena City, including a hard-fought, five-set thriller on Saturday, Nov. 13. 

Freshman Riley DeGroot led Mt. SAC in 2021 with 289 kills and added 233 digs and 23 blocks, while J.J. Quarrels was close behind with 260 kills and 176 digs. Another Mountie to watch for is freshman outside hitter Allison Whiteman, who had 200 kills, 102 digs and 31 total blocks.

Mt. SAC's main setter, freshman Ally Euston, dished out 671 assists in the regular season, while libero Riannel Arevalo anchored the Mt. SAC defense with 352 digs.

Keep an eye out for the strong serving abilities of the Mounties, who had 206 aces this year, with DeGroot's 32 aces leading the way, followed by Euston (30), Quarrels (29), Arevalo (24) and Whiteman (20).