For the first time, Pierce College hosted the Men’s Volleyball CCCAA State Championship on Saturday, April 30.
The Long Beach City Vikings came out victorious over the Orange Coast Pirates (32-30, 18-25, 25-21, 27-25).
The first set brought a lot of tension toward the crowd as Orange Coast College began to take the lead. Halfway through the set, the Vikings cut the lead down, surpassing the Pirates.
“It feels great to win. I’m just so proud and excited for the boys. They put in so much hard work this year. They bought into this system, and they bought into each other. It was just great to see them be rewarded for all their hard work,” Long Beach City College coach, Jonathan Charette said.
The Viking’s libero Dior Rodriguez said the team had been preparing for the State Championship game since fall semester.
“Preparing was more of a mindset coming into the game. We practiced learning how to go into these crucial moments of close games. What really helped us was the Semi finals and the Finals,” Rodriguez said. “The bond we have helped keep everyone together on the bench, and on the court. The hard work from fall brought us here.”
“We used to wake up at 5 a.m., sometimes earlier for practice. We just kept on pushing towards the end.”
Pierce coach, Lance Walker, feels that the Brahmas still had a successful season despite their losses.
“Every single one of my guys is going to be moving on, and transferring somewhere. I have guys going to USC, I have one guy going to Irvine Concordia on a full ride scholarship, and we have a guy going to Santa Barbara,” Walker said. “This is what we do. It’s one thing to win games and put up numbers, and it’s another to win a life.”
Charette believes that the bond his team has is what helped them build their strength.
“We knew that OCC [Orange Coast College] was going to have a lot of threats in a lot of different areas. So we wanted to be able to read and respond,” Charette said. “I think the guys did great. What brought us here is how good of teammates they are, and how good of relationships they were able to build.”
LBCC’s [Long Beach City College] Athletic Director, Randy Totorp, feels that the relationship the Vikings have with each other makes the team unique.
“The [Vikings] really resilient. They don’t fall apart internally,” Totorp said. “Their strong bond brought them together through tough moments.”
Pierce will be hosting the Women’s and Men’s Volleyball State Championship this upcoming season as well.
According to Walker, this is the first State Championship Pierce has hosted for any sport.
“As a coach it makes me very proud to represent our program. This year it was a great honor for us to be hosting. The teams honored our gym by playing the best volleyball they could. That is amazing for us, and we’re very proud of that,” Walker said.
Walker believes that Pierce hosted one of the best finals ever.
“I don’t think anyone has run a final as well as what we did. We’ve set the bar for years to come. Next season will be another promising year.”