by Chris Ruiz, CCCSIA
The Long Beach City College Vikings won their ninth state title thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Orange Coast College Pirates in the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association Men's Volleyball State Championship final on Saturday night at Pierce College in Woodland Hills.
LBCC won a marathon opening set 32-30 before Orange Coast evened things up with a 25-18 victory in Set 2. But the Vikings closed out the state championship final by coming from behind for 25-21 and 27-25 wins in the third and fourth sets.
Long Beach closed out the year with its 20th straight win, a 20-2 overall record, while avenging its two early-season losses with postseason victories over Golden West College and OCC.
LBCC head coach Jonathan Charette earned his second state championship after last defeating Orange Coast for the title in 2012.
"There was a lot of high and lows in that match," said Charette. "But the guys stayed cool and didn't respond to them. We knew we had to just stay even. The guys did a really good job of reading OCC which was the key to us winning."
Jordan Molina was named the State Championship MVP after posting 28 digs in the Vikings' semifinal win and another 14 in the final.
"Jordan was phenomenal," said Charette. "He really rose to the occasion and was amazing on defense. He was leading our charge and kept us focused."
Joshua Nehls led LBCC with 15 kills while Charles Belvin added 11.
Both were named to the All-State Tournament team. Gary Trejo added 44 assists while Elai Mama totaled seven blocks.
Orange Coast ended its season with a 21-3 overall record. Adrian Faitalia and Gianluca Grasso both totaled 20 kills. Faitalia was joined by Matthew Ujkic (10 kills, 6 blocks) on the all-tournament team.
2016 CCCAA Men's Volleyball State Championship All-Tournament Team MVP - Jordan Molina, Long Beach Joshua Nehls, Long Beach Charles Belvin, Long Beach Adrian Faitalia, Orange Coast Matthew Ujkic, Orange Coast Chase Palumbo, Golden West Roscoe Nehls, Santa Monica.
photo by Richard Quinton