Pirates prevail in five

ORANGE — Orange Coast College freshman Jim Webb plans to give up volleyball to begin Navy SEAL training this summer. But in his final match on Friday, his service was entirely to his team.

Webb, a powerfully built 6-foot-6 opposite, had a team-best 20 kills and five aces, including four kills and two aces in the decisive fifth set. His performance led the Pirates to a 25-18, 25-23, 17-25, 21-25, 15-10 victory over Santa Monica in the California Community College Athletic Assn. state championship match at Santiago Canyon College.

Webb's heroics, including seven tone-setting kills in the opening set, helped the Pirates (20-1) earn the program's first state title in 20 seasons. It is the sixth state championship in the program's state-record 15 final appearances, ending a seven-match losing streak in the final.

Webb hit .400 for the match and added six digs and two block assists.

BYU-bound sophomore outside hitter Ty Hutchins had 19 kills, six digs and two aces to join Webb on the all-tournament team, while sophomore setter Brendan Duff had 48 assists, five digs and four block assists to earn tournament MVP honors.

"I absolutely believed that we were the hardest working team in the gym," said Webb, whose team had played only two five-set matches before Friday, the last accounting for its only loss at Grossmont on March 12. "We deserved it. I never had a doubt. Even though we slipped up in the [third and fourth sets], I never had a doubt we were going to win."

Turner, who credited assistant coach Charlie Brande with providing a strategic rotation adjustment after the Corsairs (14-7) had sent the match to a fifth set, said he had complete faith in his players when the state title was on the line.

"I'd take these guys in a fifth set, in a game to 10, or a game to two," said Turner, who won for the first time in his four final appearances at the helm of OCC, for which he played on state title teams in 1989 and 1990. "I'll take these guys every time."

Those guys included sophomore middle blocker Scott Metrakos, who had back-to-back stuff blocks to give OCC leads of 10-8 and 11-8 in the final set. His three solo blocks led the winners and he added four block assists and three kills on four swings (a .750 percentage) .

Freshman middle blocker Nick Amado had seven kills, four block assists and one solo block, while freshman outside hitter Brandon Dau contributed four kills, three digs and one block assist.

Freshman libero Ryan Manoogian had three digs, though the Pirates were bested, 38-26, in that department by the scrappy Corsairs.

Santa Monica's .288 hitting percentage was 30 points better then the Pirates, who posted a 12-9 advantage in team blocks. The Corsairs also had 63 kills to OCC's 55, but had 13 service errors, three more than the Pirates, while posting two fewer aces.

"It feels amazing," Duff said. "We've been working for that all season. I envisioned it just like it happened. Santa Monica came with it and it stunned us for a while, but we came back The fifth set is definitely not something we've had to do all season, but we always practice with high intensity. We're used to that pressure and we live for it."

Turner and Duff said Webb's intensity was apparent from the start.

"As soon as I saw the look in his eye after he hit that first ball, I knew [Webb] was going to have a big night," Turner said. "And the thing about Jimmy is, he did it with such composure.. It's the last match he's ever going to play, but he's on to bigger and better things."

Said Duff: "[Webb] was definitely very aggressive. And when Jimmy is aggressive, he's really unstoppable. Our passing was a little weak during the middle section [of the match], so we couldn't get him the ball as much as we wanted to. But we picked it up and we got points when it mattered.

"When the pressure was on, we stayed calm, everyone did their job, and it worked out fine in the end," Duff said. "The last [state title] here came the year after I was born. We were definitely due."

Turner said the crown, adding to those captured in 1994, 1991, 1990, 1989 and 1987, was more gratifying for the players than for him.

"This one is not about me," said Turner, who was surrounded by his players afterward as they chanted Travis, Travis, Travis. "These guys worked so hard and it's about [the players]. I'm going to be here for a long time and, hopefully, I will get a few more of these."

Stanley Keats had 26 kills and Taylor Tattersall added 23 for the Corsairs, who finished third in the Western State Conference, but upset WSC champion El Camino in the semifinal to earn their first state final berth since 1981.

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