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Friday, August 7, 2020

Brahmas win after nail biter semifinal against El Camino

The Brahmas are heading back to the state title game for the second consecutive year with a victory over the El Camino College Warriors on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Pierce needed all five sets to win its semifinal matchup. After the Brahmas took the first two sets the momentum shifted over to the Warriors.
Assistant coach Danetta Boykin could see the change in intensity in the Warriors after the first two sets..
“El Camino came out and played a lot better,” Boykin said. “That’s the only thing that changed, them. We stayed the same, we stayed true. But they played very well.”
The energy at Ken Stanley Court for the deciding set was electric. The home court advantage was there for Pierce, but the Warriors fans traveled from Torrance and nearly matched the Brahmas fans in number.
The echoes of chants from both fanbases thundered through the gym.
“These are the games you live for as an athlete,” Cassidy Rosso said. “You appreciate the games that are easy, but a game with a lot of hype is why you’re out here.”
The final set was back and forth just like the match. Pierce took control, leading 10-6, but ECC fought back, cutting the lead to 1 at 10-9. The Brahmas then took control back, finally winning the set 15-10.
Coach Nabil Mardini is proud of his team’s “gutsy win.”
“We played a very good team,” Mardini said. “That’s how it goes. You have to find a way, dig deep and they did. They played a very good, gutsy game 5.”
Despite the praise for winning, Mardini would have liked to have seen them put the game away earlier.
“In game 3 we were up and I thought we should have finished,” Mardini said. “We started letting down a little bit and El Camino caught fire and they gained a little more confidence. That’s the only disappointment.”
The win puts Pierce into the championship game for the seventh time is 11 years.
Standing between the Brahmas and their fourth state title in 7 years is the Fresno City College Rams.
The Rams come into the title game off of a straight-set upset victory over the No. 1 team in the state, Grossmont College.
“We don’t know much about Fresno,” Mardini said. “We’re going to need to sit down and scout them, but I think we’ll be alright.”
Mardini will have a short turn around to get his team ready. The state title game is on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m., about 17 hours after the final point of the semifinal match.
Boykin believes they will be alright as long as they do things the way they have all season.
“We just have to play our game,” Boykin said. “Whatever brought us here, keep it going, don’t stop.”

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