SARATOGA, Calif. - MiraCosta College came into the 2017 California Community College Women's Beach Volleyball Championships as the top seed and the Spartans showed why they were worthy of the high expectations, rolling to three straight wins and their first state championship in the growing sport on Friday at West Valley College.
MiraCosta opened by beating fourth-seeded Long Beach City College, 4-1, and then edged Pacific Coast Conference rival Grossmont, seeded third, by a 3-2 score. The Spartans then brought home the CCCAA's third state title with a 3-0 victory over second-seeded Feather River. The final match was not played to completion once MiraCosta clinched the victory.
"It feels unbelievable," said elated head coach Doug Wright. "The last two seasons I thought we had a team that could be here but we kind of ran into (Irvine Valley College) in back to back years and they were phenomenal. We just couldn't get past them.
"To get here and have the year we've had feels unbelievable," he added. "Our strength is in our numbers. We have about 14 (players) who can play beach volleyball and 10 of them showed up today to do it for us."
Wright quickly corrected himself to say that he actually used 11 players today after an injury forced him to bring in alternate Maddison Penrod, who had been out all season with injury and hadn't played. But she joined teammate Cady Delay to form a winning combination at No. 5.
"She came out and played phenomenally," Wright added. "I could not be more proud of our team."
Grossmont gave MiraCosta its biggest test of the day. Claire Kinder and Chloe Tripp combined for a 21-18, 21-17 win at No. 4 while Lana Salazar and Alysia Baker were 21-18, 21-19 winners at No. 3.
But Grossmont won at No. 5 and No. 1 with the winning margin coming from Maile Sellers and Madeleine Alper at No. 2, who split their first two games, taking a 22-20 win in the first but losing 21-18 in the second. However, the pair was able to pull out a 15-13 win in the third and deciding game, giving the Spartans the win.
"They had an unbelievable first set, they were down 15-20 and came back and won 22-20," Wright said of Sellers and Alper. "I thought we'd come out and just rule the second set because that's been one of my most consistent teams all years. But they dropped it and it was just back and forth in the third set.
"It was one of those games that could've gone either way. Once we got it, I felt great."
In its final match against Feather River, MiraCosta swept to wins at No. 5 and No. 4 before Salazar an Baker were forced to a third and deciding game, which they won 15-13.
Long Beach posted a 3-2 win over Grossmont to grab second place in the team standings.
The tournament continues on Saturday and Sunday with the individual championships at West Valley.
CCCAA WOMEN'S BEACH VOLLEYBALL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
West Valley College
1. MiraCosta, 3-0
2. Long Beach City, 2-1
3. Grossmont, 1-2
4. Feather River, 0-3
Round 1 Results
MiraCosta 4, Long Beach 1
Gossmont 5, Feather River 0
Round 2 Results
MiraCosta 3, Grossmont 2
Long Beach 4, Feather River 1
Round 3 Results
MiraCosta 3, Feather River 0
Long Beach 3, Grossmont 2