The Pierce College men’s volleyball team won its first match against Long Beach in nine years on Friday, making the away game the team’s second consecutive victorious five-set match.
The two-plus hour match (25-18, 21-25, 26-24, 19-25, 15-11) was highlighted by freshman opposite Robbie Rutecki who came back from the bench in the fifth game after hurting his knee in the fourth.
Head Coach Lance Walker said the match’s momentum swayed from team to team, and Rutecki’s return to the court helped bring in the win.
“It was a huge confidence-builder for us,” Walker said. “I’m incredibly proud of him for manning up.”
Freshman outside hitter Anthony Stepanov led the match with 21 kills and 21.5 points, and Andy Aguila, also a freshman outside hitter, reached for 13 digs.
Walker said it wasn’t an easy win.
“Every point was a fighting point,” Walker said. “It was a great match. It was a really fun match to coach.”
One of the team’s co-captains, Daniel Williams, a sophomore middle blocker, felt the same.
“The first set, we came out on fire,” Williams said. “We fought, and they fought back.”
Williams said the Brahmas played as a team.
“We played together. We played hard. We played as a team, nonstop,” Williams said.
Freshman outside hitter Corey Pitt summed up the Brahmas’ match as “intense.”
“I just felt like the game was really intense,” Pitt said. “The fact that we kept up our intensity during the whole match kept us fighting.”
Aside from coming back to win the third set from a six-point deficit, Pitt said most of the match was spent scoring two points for every one Long Beach scored.
“We call it the ‘Pierce two-for-one deal,’” Pitt said.
Walker said the fans contributed to the match’s atmosphere.
“Hey, we’re here,” Walker said, as if he were talking to Long Beach. “We’re at your house. We’re here with a house just full of screaming people.”
The coach thanked Long Beach for a the grueling match.
“My hat’s off to the Long Beach coach and players, and also the fans,” Walker said. “They did a fantastic job really doing everything they could to try to get the win for their guys, but the momentum was on our side.”
Walker said the match’s opening was crucial to its outcome.
“If it wasn’t for us taking that first set, there wouldn’t have been a fifth set,” Walker said.
The volleyballing Brahmas’ next match is scheduled for Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at El Camino.