Men's Volleyball: Rustlers capture state title

Golden West College won its sixth California Community College Athletic Assn. state championship in men's volleyball Saturday when the Rustlers edged Pacific Coast Athletic Conference rival Grossmont, 31-29, 26-24, 25-17.

The state final was played in the Hall of Champions Gym at Long Beach City College.

Matt Hilling, a freshman outside hitter who prepped at Orange Lutheran, had 18 of the 39 kills the Rustlers recorded in the title match. He had several, big kills in the opening set, the last of his eight giving the Rustlers a 30-29 lead that led to an eventual, 31-29 win.

Hilling was named Most Valuable Player on the All-State Tournament Team.

"Matt was huge for us," first-year Golden West head coach Kasey Harwell said in a statement. "He was involved in every point and didn't take a break. I was impressed to see he played with so much composure."

Several local former prep players make up the Golden West roster including freshman opposite Jared Chasse (Huntington Beach High), sophomore libero Micah Chang (Fountain Valley), sophomore middle blocker Tyler Kulikowski (Huntington Beach), and freshman middle blocker Bert Peyton (Huntington Beach).

A key block by Kulikowski and sophomore middle blocker Jose Ulloa (Salesian) in the third set put Golden West at match point. A hitting error by Grossmont ended the match.

Kulikowski finished with six kills.

The title game was an all-PCAC affair between the Rustlers and Griffins who each had defeated the other during the regular season and shared the conference title.

Golden West capped a 17-4 season by winning its first state title since 1999.

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