The Long Beach City College men’s volleyball team continued its tear through the state of California this week, including a dominant sweep of Santa Barbara City on Friday evening in the Vikings’ volleyball gym. LBCC remained undefeated at 12-0 with the win, and remains the unanimous No. 1-ranked team in California after the 25-13, 25-17, 25-22 sweep of No. 5 Santa Barbara.
After a quick pair of wins in the first two sets, the Vikings were playing lackadaisically in the third set, falling behind 15-13. Santa Barbara’s Cameron Fry got fired up after a kill, slapping the floor three times in celebration, and that seemed to wake up the Vikings, who ripped off an 8-0 run. Vikings head coach Jonathan Charette agreed that the celebration woke his team up.
“It sure did, and I’m glad it did,” he said. “Santa Barbara pushed us tonight, they brought something out of us in terms of energy that we haven’t seen yet this year.”
The Vikings are a physically gifted group, and the sight of them playing with passion can’t be exciting for potential opponents. Sophomore Andrew Pearson served up the 8-0 run, and he celebrated loudly in between points, at one point slapping the floor three times himself.
Meanwhile the LBCC bench did over-the-top cheers and chants and got the players on the floor fired up, and the packed house in the small gymnasium brought the noise as well.
“We’re excited because we feel we can get better at a lot of things,” said Charette, who is looking for his third state title as head coach of the Vikings in his seventh season. The Vikings have won nine state championships in men’s volleyball, most recently in 2016.
“I think this team can be really good, as long as they keep pushing themselves and not settling,” said Charette.
Against Santa Barbara the Vikings hit .347 while holding their opponent to .027. Victor Villareal led the way with eight kills backed up by Pearson’s six kills. Setter Melbe Perez had 23 assists, while Marques Buggs had nine assists and two kills.
LBCC (12-0) travels to Fullerton on Wednesday and will next play at home on March 23 against Santa Monica. The state playoffs are slated for the last week of April.