Pirates leave no doubt in sweep over Bobcats

Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch
Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team responded from a tough loss on Friday in a BIG way, shutting down 25th-ranked Saddleback in three quick sets on Wednesday night inside the Peterson Gym.

With Friday night's pair of upsets (OCC losing to Santa Ana and Saddleback shocking Irvine Valley) set up what looked like a long, drag-out battle between the Bobcats (11-3, 4-3 in the Orange Empire Conference) and the 19th-ranked Pirates (12-3, 5-2), but in the end, Coast's strong, all-around play completely stifled the Bobcats all throughout the match.

Paige Cutwright led the Pirates with 10 kills, while the offense was spread around to Brisa Zapata-Reaves (nine kills), Leah Thibault (six kills), Kingsley Mason (five kills) and Natalia Brandlin (four kills). Nine aces by the Pirates and nine points off of OCC blocks helped make it a miserable night for a Saddleback offense that could muster up only 19 kills as a team.

After falling behind briefly in the opening set, OCC turned the tables with a 9-2 run, sparked by a kill and three straight aces by Brandlin, putting the Pirates up for good.

It was more of the same in the second set as a close score quickly turned into a rout as an 8-0 run by Coast turned an 8-5 lead into a comfy 16-5 advantage. A mini outburst by the Bobcats make it 18-10, only to see Coast finish the set with a 7-2 run.

In the third set, an early 4-2 lead by Saddleback was quickly forgotten as strong serving by Holmgren and three kills each by Zapata-Reaves and Mason sparked a 13-0 run and the Pirates never looked back.

With the win, the Pirates maintain a share of second place with Santa Ana (5-2 in the OEC), just one win behind first-place Irvine Valley.

Coast will return to action on Friday at home against Fullerton College, beginning at 6 p.m.