OCC claims the crown

The top seeded Pirates of Orange Coast College (21-1) found their buried treasure at Ken Stanley Court on Saturday, taking home the California Community College Athletic Association men’s volleyball championship.

The straight set victory (25-21, 25-21, 25-21) offers the Pirates a measure of redemption after losing in the championship game last year on the same court.

The Pirates win brings an end to the dream run of upstart El Camino College (12-8). The seventh seeded Warriors took out No. 2 Irvine Valley College (15-4) and defending champion No. 3 Long Beach City College (16-4) en route to the title game.

During the regular season, Pierce defeated ECC (27-25, 33-35, 27-29, 25-15, 17-15) and lost to OCC (25-18, 25-22, 13-25, 25-21), Irvine Valley(28-26, 22-25, 27-25, 22-25, 17-15) and LBCC (20-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-9).

Despite all three sets being competitive, the length and athleticism up front for OCC set the tone for the night. The Pirates controlled the net throughout, making the Warriors fight for every point.

The third set ended on kill number 16 for tournament MVP Jordan Hoppe. Hoppe was also named MVP of the Orange Empire Conference and OCC Male Athlete of the Year.

Between the second and third sets, the three newest members of the CCCAA Hall of Fame were introduced, including two former Brahmas.

Former Olympian Kevin Barnett played under Ken Stanley at Pierce before moving on to Pepperdine University where he was a two-time all-American.

After playing for the US National team from 1997-2006, Barnett became an analyst for NBC’s coverage of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Randy Sapoznik, a 1987 Pierce alum, is the executive director and co-founder of the United States Youth Volleyball League.

Joining Barnett and Sapoznik was Eunetta Pickett, a 60-year veteran of officiating at the college and high school levels.

The tournament was the third of its sort that Pierce has hosted in the past two years. The 2016 men’s and women’s tournaments were both at Ken Stanley Court.