Yet another exciting chapter was written into the bitter rivalry between the men’s volleyball teams of Pierce College and Moorpark College on Friday, March 28, when Pierce came back to defeat Moorpark, 3-2.
Moorpark took the first and third sets 25-21, with the teams exchanging winning sets up until the fourth, where Pierce took consecutive sets to win the match. The Brahmas won the second, fourth, and fifth set 25-17, 25-19, and 15-13 respectively.
From the start of the match, the level of energy was almost palpable, with each set raising the intensity between the teams and the lively crowd. The teams, well aware of how heated this rivalry has become, were prepared to fight for every point.
Before the game, Pierce head coach Lance Walker was not shy about hyping this game up, saying he gave his team a pep talk, knowing how important this game is to them and the school.
“This is for the 818 bragging rights right here,” Walker said. “It has developed into a strong rivalry over the past 10 years, and we had a tough fight against these guys last game we played, so hopefully we can do better this time.”
The game lived up to the hype, with the first set setting the tone for the rest of the match. Freshman libero Alex Sanchez netted one of Pierce’s six aces of the match to make the score 8-6. The teams then traded points until a controversial call from the ref gave the Raiders the point at 19-18.
After that call, which had fans of the home team jeering, Moorpark took control and went on to win the set. The second set continued on where the first left off, with a thrilling volley tying the game at eight for Pierce.
That point, which saw multiple diving digs from Pierce players, sparked the Brahmas to take 10 straight points, putting them ahead 18-8. Of those 10, three of them came on consecutive aces from freshman outside hitter Daniel Jacobs.
Jacobs’ stellar performance in the game was pointed to as the most prominent cause of the Raiders’ undoing by their head coach, Steve Burkhart.
When asked what was the x-factor that determined the outcome of the match, Burkhart simply replied, “16,” referring to Jacobs’ number. “He single-handedly changed the game.”
The third and fourth sets were both tightly contested back-and-forth affairs, with each team pulling a set out after powerful, momentum shifting kills. In the fifth and final set, each point was met with raucous applause from either side.
After the Brahmas jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the teams were shifting runs until it was 11-9 Pierce, when a spectacular double dig by Sanchez pushed Pierce to 12. The home team went on to win the set on Moorpark’s overshot serve.
The Brahmas had previously lost 5 of its last 6 matches, and before they took the second set, they had lost their previous 7 sets combined. Freshman middle blocker Bryan Sotelo said the team had come out with a different energy for this game.
“The last couple games, we didn’t have energy, but we were focused and played well as a team, and really the whole team stepped up for this important game,” Sotelo said.
Pierce’s next game is on April 4, on the road at Santa Monica.