Pirates host Cypress in SoCal Regional matchup on Tuesday

Pirates host Cypress in SoCal Regional matchup on Tuesday


COSTA MESA -- It will be a familiar foe making its way to the Peterson Gym on Tuesday night as the Orange Coast College women's volleyball team hosts conference-rival Cypress College in the second round of the SoCal Regional Playoffs, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Pirates (19-5), seeded fifth in this year's bracket will host the 12th-seeded Chargers (17-9), a matchup that has occurred twice already this season, with OCC winning in four sets on Oct. 5 (25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 25-9) and the Chargers winning at Cypress on Nov. 4 (28-26, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9).

The winner of Tuesday's matchup will face the winner of the Santa Barbara City/San Diego Mesa match on Saturday night for a shot at the CCCAA State Finals.

OCC's last loss was that aforementioned setback to the Chargers on Nov. 4. Since then, Coast as won three straight, including an impressive win against playoff-bound Santa Ana (25-21, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23) and Saddleback (25-22, 25-16, 25-17).

Coast has been led by the steady play of sophomore outside hitter Brisa Zapata-Reaves, who has knocked down a team-best 250 kills to go along with 274 digs and 31 total blocks. But the Pirates' offensive options don't stop there. Included in the arsenal are sophomore middle blocker Paige Cutwright (191 kills, .512 hitting percentage, 57 blocks), freshman opposite Kingsley Mason (139 kills, 54 digs, 46 blocks), freshman middle blocker Natalia Brandlin (137 kills, 89 blocks) and freshman outside hitter Leah Thibault (130 kills, 205 digs, 43 aces).

Freshman setter Grace Holmgren has been dictating the offensive gameplan and has dished out 586 assists to go along with 160 digs.

Sophomore libero and team leader, Emily Payne, has notched a team-best 449 digs. She is just two digs shy of joining former Pirate standout Rylee Adair (1,064) with 1,000-or-more career digs. Her 998 career digs are second-most all time in OCC history.

For the Chargers, their offense begins with freshman outside hitter Shayna Martinez, a very familiar face to the Pirates this year. Her 391 kills are fifth-most in the entire state and at the last Pirates-Chargers matchup, she took 76 swings at the OCC defense and picked up a season-high 33 kills in the five-set win.

Other Cypress hitters to keep an eye on include sophomore Kaelie Tulette (178 kills, 34 blocks), freshman opposite Kaitlyn Emma Casino (151 kills) and freshman middle blocker Jubilee Allen (122 kills, team-best 105 total blocks). The setter duo of Victoria Reza and Anysa-Peone-Joe have a combined 775 assists between them, while sophomore libero Zoe Munn anchors the Charger defense with 346 digs.