(Long Beach, CA) It felt like a championship match at the inaugural South Coast Conference Women's Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday (Nov. 19), at Long Beach City College.
In the fifth set, tied at two games each, with the score tied at 15-15, outside hitter Jessica Morse sent a hard shot over (set by Jaderi Ceja) the net to give the Mounties a 16-15 lead. An attack error by L.A. Harbor ended the set (17-15) and the match, sending the Mounties into a frenzy, jumping up and down with hugs all around.
"Jess (Morse) did answer and was huge for us," said Mt. SAC Interim Head Coach Samantha Neely, of her play in the final set. "She handles pressure situations great."
Morse was huge, allright, as she played best game of her two-year career at Mt. SAC with a team-high 21 kills.
It wasn't a championship and they weren't moving on to the CCCAA playoffs. It was a fifth-place match.
"Winning this felt so nice and it did feel like a championship match," Morse said. "They (L.A. Harbor) were really good against us and got us down.
"I was just going after it and if I'm going out, I'm going out huge and just banged away and used what the coaches taught me."
With Mt. SAC trailing two sets to one and behind in the fourth set, 11-7, the comeback began.
With Ceja serving, the Mounties won four straight points and a kill by middle blocker Camille Boone evened the set, 13-13. They never trailed by more than a point the rest of the way.
Morse ended the set with a kill to even the match at 2-2 and had four big kills in the fifth and final set.
The Mounties won, 15-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-23, 17-15.
The Mounties finished thes season under .500 (11-17, 8-9) and out of the playoffs, but the win felt oh, so good.
"It was a really awesome matchup between the two of us," Neely said. "It couldn't have been a better way to end our season. The girls worked really, really hard in this game and they worked hard physically. I reminded them that we needed to work hard mentally with our focus in that fourth and fifth set.
"I think they executed that really well. I reminded them that this was the last game of our season and for the sophomores it was their last game competing for Mt. SAC. I think that tapped into their emotions a little bit and got that extra fire to get that energy and finish the game out."
Outside hitter Macy Barnes (3 service aces, 10 digs) and Boone had 12 and 10 kills, respectively for the Mounties in the match.
"Camille is cool, calm and collected and was playing with a broken thumb (Tuesday)," Neely said.
Ceja led the Mounties with 36 assists and opposite Ashly Velazquez had a match-high 15 digs.
Mt. SAC, which defeated L. A. Harbor twice during conference play, fell behind early, losing the opening set, 25-15.
In the second set with the score tied, 13-13, Morse recorded a kill to give the Mounties the 14-13 lead. The never trailed the rest of the way, to even the match, 1-1.
In the third set, Mt. SAC never led as the Seahawks built up an early lead and cruised to a 25-17 victory and 2-1 set lead.
"Most teams, in a championship tournament like this finish (with a loss) and there is only one team that gets the championship," Neely added. "Although we weren't in the big-time championship, it's still a gift to be able to finish out our season with a win that felt really good."
What they said:
Macy Barnes, SO - "It did feel like a championship match. It went to five and we stayed consistent. It just felt great and it was perfect to go out with a win.
"It was a good comeback and we had to keep that lead in the fourth set. In the first year I didn't play as much. This year I stayed on the court the whole game and it was quite fun."
Katie Magdalik, FR - "I came in like a scared freshman this season (at the beginning) but I started trusting me. I thought to myself 'I can do this.'
"It feels really nice to win the last game and I wanted to put all my heart out for the sophomores."
Camille Boone, SO - "When we lost the first set, it was kind of weird because we beat this team, 3-1 both times in the season.
"It feels good. Even though we played for fifth place (Tuesday), we played our hearts out. Everybody did their job. To finish on a win is just great. In all of our sets (this season) we were close."
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.