Pirates too much for San Diego Mesa

When is too much of a good thing just that? Orange Coast College men's volleyball coach Travis Turner was not afraid to admit that after losing just four sets during a 10-0 start, it was time for a little adversity.

So, when sophomore starting outside hitter Ty Hutchins forgot his jersey on a Pacific Coast Conference road trip to Grossmont last week, Turner elected to let one of his top offensive weapons sit out, rather than hand over the extra jersey he always brings along for just such instances.

Without Hutchins, OCC fell in five games to the Griffins on March 12, creating a tie between the two schools atop the conference standings. It also brought and end to any sense of entitlement for the Pirates' players.

But all was dominant once again on the OCC front on Wednesday, when Turner's squad despite the absence of 6-foot-6 kills leader Jim Webb (sprained ankle), dispatched visiting San Diego Mesa, 25-18, 25-17, 25-18, in right around one hour.

"Sweeps are good," said Turner, who was not overly impressed, but somewhat content by his team's ninth three-set triumph this season.

OCC improved to 12-1, 5-1 in conference and can begin focusing on rival Golden West, which took the Pirates to five games on its floor on Feb. 26. OCC has won 38 sets thus far and lost just seven.

"I really think we were looking ahead [to Golden West]," Turner said after his squad never trailed by more than two in any game and was never behind after erasing a 9-7 deficit in Game 2 against the Olympians (2-11, 1-5). "I hate to say it and I'm not supposed to say it, but I don't blame them. [Friday vs. Golden West (7-6, 3-3 and in fourth place in the PCC)], is a big night and a big match."

None of the Pirates had a big night on Wednesday, as freshman outside hitter Brandon Dau led a balanced attack with eight kills.

Hutchins, who has accepted a scholarship to BYU, and freshman middle blocker Nick Amato had seven kills each for the winners.

Sophomore middle blocker Scott Metrakos had six kills and freshman opposite Jeff Taylor, filling in for Webb, added four as sophomore setter Brendan Duff had 26 assists for OCC.

The Pirates, however, had 12 missed serves, with only two aces, and were less than precise most of the match.

"I thought we played OK," Turner said. "Our offense is OK. Our defense and serving need to get better."

Turner said Webb is expected to return Friday, as should his team's willingness to pursue high-level performance.

"I actually had another jersey [that Hutchins could have worn against Grossmont], but I said, 'You know what? We need something, because everything had been going pretty well for us, so a little adversity won't kill us,'" Turner said.

"Brandon Dau played real well [against San Diego Mesa] and Jeff Taylor, played for [Webb] and did a nice job. [Webb] is hard to replace because of that body and his competitiveness. He really gets after it. But this team is pretty deep."

Turner expects his team to dig deep on Friday.

"Golden West is good," Turner said. "[The Rustlers] are well-coached and a good team, so it should be a good match."

It's safe to assume both teams won't have any trouble remembering to bring their full uniforms.

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