Pierce Wins In 5 In Epic Semi Over El Camino; Brahmas In Final Sunday v. Fresno

Pierce Wins In 5 In Epic Semi Over El Camino; Brahmas In Final Sunday v. Fresno

Host Pierce College once again has advanced to a state final but had to fight off a pesky El Camino squad to win in five sets, 25-14, 25-20, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10, Saturday night in the CCCAA Women's Volleyball Championship semifinals. The Brahmas, a South No. 2 seed, faces another No. 2 seed Fresno City in the title match on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Brahmas won their state-best 30th match (now 30-3) behind the hitting of Cassidy Rosso, who totaled 27 kills (hit .478), and clutch play by reserve players late in the match. El Camino (23-4) officially finished tied for third place at state in the final match of the indoor head coaching career of legend Le Valley Pattison, who closed out her 26th season. She will continue as the Warriors' beach volleyball coach. 

The Warriors wouldn't quit down 2-0 in sets as they tried to give Pattison a trip to the finals. El Camino was paced by the play of Taylor Brydon who drilled 22 kills and hit .588 overall. Aiko Waters added 12 kills while Nina Wyer set 33 assists.

In the deciding fifth set, Pierce's aggressive serving helped it take an 8-6 lead with Hayley Alvarez serving an ace down the line. El Camino fought back to 11-10 on a Brydon kill, but Rosso ripped a kill and Julia Izquierdo twirled back-to-back aces to finish off the match at 15-10. Tamia Files who entered the match late in the fourth set, hit two kills in the fifth set to help the Brahmas' cause.

"It's always feel good to make it to the finals," said Pierce head coach Nabil Mardini, whose 2015 team settled for state runner-up after his program produced three consecutive state crowns from 2010-2012. "We had a great performance from our bench. We kind of let things get away from us with a 2-0 lead, and it required some changes. Cassidy had an amazing match and Hayley came up with some big serves and hit the ball well later in the match. Peyton Moyles really runs the show for us and made the right decisions to go to a variety of hitters in the fifth set."

Pattison talked about her team's trip to state.

"I am so proud of the way our team came back from 2-0 and put pressure on a state No. 2-ranked team in Pierce," Pattison said. "Brydon had a phenomenal match, and she just carried our offense on her shoulders. We wanted to win it all, but to beat last year's champion in the quarterfinals and then to take Pierce to 5, that makes it a great finish for us."

For Pierce, Moyles, an All-American setter, totaled 53 assists, Whitley Doss scored 10 kills, and libero Kamala Lovick recorded 23 digs. 

The match completed a wild day in which both No. 1 seeds were eliminated in state No. 1-ranked Grossmont and No. 4 and North top seed Cabrillo. 

{Photos of the state tourney games by Richard Quinton, CCCAA}