Rarely is a loss fulfilling.
For the Pierce College Men’s volleyball team, losing to arch-rival Moorpark in four games, was immensely gratifying.
Before the match, assistant coach Brad Lyans was worried that a poor conference record would prevent the Brahmas from being aggressive.
“With each loss, you kind of see the hope and the excitement kind of fizzle out slowly,” he said. “We just hope that even if we do lose tonight, we go down the right way. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
The coaching staff got what they asked for. After losing the first game 30-25, and the second in overtime 36-34, Pierce was able to claw back and win game three 31-29.
Brahma head coach Eddie Stanislawski admitted after the match that even though it is never easy to lose, he was very pleased with his team’s effort.
“We battled back,” Stanislawski said. “I think that was some of the harder playing that I’ve seen out of my guys in a while.”
Battle back they did, and in conditions that felt more like an away game than Sophomore Night. The last game ever to be played in the South Gym before it closes for renovation was packed with relentless Raider faithful. They loudly disputed every call that went against Moorpark and taunted Pierce’s servers.
“Regardless of who they’re for, it’s just the energy in the room,” Stanislawski said of the spectators. “It’s sometimes cool to be the bad guy. Everyone’s rooting against you, and you come out and play your best. That’s what dreams are made of.”
In spite of the crowd, or perhaps because of them, the Brahmas were able to remain competitive with a team they haven’t beaten since 2006. After the Raiders jumped out to a quick, five-point lead in game four, the Brahmas went on a 9-2 scoring run, culminating in a one-point lead. Moorpark scored the next three points, and Pierce couldn’t catch-up. They lost 30-27.
After the match, an emotional JaVael Boykins, who’s energy off the bench in game three was pivotal to the lone victory of the evening, said he was proud the team “never put their heads down” when they were 0-2.
“Even though our season may not prolong past (the regular) season, I’m happy to be a Brahma,” he said. “Today was a great day.”
Boykins also said that as a sophomore, he felt a certain responsibility to prove that Pierce is great team, despite their 9-5 season.
“Even though our record may not show it, we still are the number one team in state,” he said. “It’s just been rough for us to find what we’ve been looking for, and I think tonight we found it.”
The regular season wraps up April 10. It is unlikely that Pierce will get a spot in the play-offs, but according to first-year player Jake Dietrich, they don’t plan to end the season quietly.
“There’s just a lot of pride,” he said. “If someone’s going to kick you and back you into a corner, I think that this team especially, we’re gonna fight back.”
Next battle is Wednesday night at El Camino College. Game starts at six.
For more coverage on the men’s volleyball team, check out roundupsports.wordpress.com.