Griffins and Wolverines claim top seeds as CCCAA Beach Volleyball Championships begin Thursday

Grossmont College beach volleyball
Grossmont College beach volleyball

CCCAA BEACH VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team (May 9)
Pool Play Scoreboard and Standings

Pairs Championship (May 10-11)
Pool Play Results: (May 10)
Morning wave | Afternoon wave

Bracket Play (May 11)
Bracket

By Brian Sylva & Ebony Macias
College of the Desert Sports Information

CHULA VISTA – The Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (CVTC), home to the former Olympic Training Center, will be the center of action for three days when it hosts the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Championships beginning on Thursday, May 9.

Six programs – four from the south and two from the north – will vie for the team title on Thursday, starting at 9 a.m., before 32 pairs teams from 18 different colleges take to the sand on Friday and Saturday to determine the pair's championship. With the Irvine Valley Lasers having 4 of their 5 pairs teams on the sand, representing the largest number of qualifying pairs teams, followed by the El Camino Warriors and the Cabrillo Seahawks with each having 3 of their pairs teams qualifying. 

The programs with two pairs teams qualifying include: the Grossmont Griffins, the Foothill Owls, the San Diego Mesa Olympians, the Feather River Golden Eagles, the Long Beach City Vikings, the Sierra Wolverines and the MiraCosta Spartans.

The programs with a single pairs team qualifying include: the Cypress Chargers, the San Joaquin Delta Mustangs, the San Diego City Knights, the West Valley Vikings, the Fresno City Rams, the Riverside City Tigers, the Ventura Pirates and the College of the Desert Roadrunners.

This season will feature a new team champion and welcomes first time finalists, the El Camino Warriors of Torrance (2019: 16-5; 4-2 2nd South Coast Conf.) and the Gavilan Rams of Gilroy (2019: 13-7; 8-2 1st Coast Conf.). 

The Warriors and Rams will join the Grossmont Griffins of El Cajon (2019: 21-2; 10-0 1st Pacific Coast Conf.) and the Irvine Valley Lasers (2019: 16-7; 10-0 1st Orange Empire Conf.) who are making their fourth appearances each and the Long Beach City Vikings (2019: 14-6; 6-0 1st South Coast Conf.) who are making their third CCCAA State Championship tournament. The Sierra Wolverines of Rocklin (2019: 14-5; 7-1 1st Big 8 Conf.) are returning in back-to-back seasons.

Grossmont was awarded the top seed from Southern California as the Griffins hosted one of the four regional team finals, where they defeated the Mt. San Antonio Mounties and the Ventura Pirates to return to the State Championship after a one year hiatus. The Griffins finished the 2018 season as Champions of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) with a record of 10-0 and an overall record of 22-4, missing out on a return trip to the 2018 State Finals in a stunning loss to the Moorpark Raiders. Grossmont will open the CCCAA State Championship facing El Camino, a team they defeated on March 2, 2019 by a score of 4-1. The Griffins returners from 2018 include: Julia Holden, Desiree Elizondo, Kylee Snyder, Jamie Sakasegawa, Laurie Orbita, Ashlee Goycoochea, Aofiaolela Faa'agi, Alexis Vanlandingham, Kayli Barrera, Ashley Whipple, Carly Gonzalez. Grossmont is coached by PCAC Coach of the Year, Jamie Ivers, in her fifth season in charge of the Griffins Beach Volleyball program.

Sierra was awarded the top seed from Northern California as the Wolverines hosted one of the two regional team finals, where they defeated the Feather River Golden Eagles and the Foothill Owls to return to the State Championship in back-to-back seasons. The Wolverines finished the 2018 season as Champions of the Big 8 with a record of 8-0 and an overall record of 14-5, making their first trip to the 2018 State Finals at West Valley College in Saratoga. Sierra has faced one other State Championship participant during the 2019 regular season, narrowly defeating Gavilan on March 8, 2019 by a score of 3-2. Returners from 2018 include: Kapri Pelle, Madison Meteer, Meghan Merlino, Alex Cook, Gabrielle Roberst. Sierra is coached by Alanna Whitnack, in her third season in charge of the Wolverines Beach Volleyball program.

Long Beach City was awarded the #2 seed from Southern California as the Vikings defeated the MiraCosta Spartans and the Orange Coast Pirates to return to the State Championship for the third consecutive season. The Vikings finished the 2018 season as Champions of the South Coast Conference (SCC) with a record of 6-0 and an overall record of 18-5, making their second consecutive trip to the State Finals. Long Beach City has faced one other State Championship participant during the 2019 regular season, South Coast Conference opponent El Camino, narrowly defeating the Warriors twice. The first time on March 22, by a score of 3-2 and then on April 12, also by a score of 3-2. Returners from 2018 include: Sierra Davis, Isabella Alvariez, Kaitlyn Peterson, Elsa Woods, Doris Woods, Brooklin Mize, Jessica Blakeman. Long Beach City is coached by Misty May-Treanor, in her third season in charge of the Vikings Beach Volleyball program.

Gavilan was awarded the #2 seed from Northern California as the Rams knocked off two Coast Conference opponents in the Regional Final, en route to their first State Championship appearance, defeating the Fresno City Rams, then upsetting the West Valley Vikings. The Rams finished the 2018 season in third place in the Coast Conference with a record of 5-3 and an overall record of 9-8. Gavilan has faced one other State Championship participant during the 2019 regular season, Sierra, narrowly defeating the Wolverines on March 8, by a score of 3-2. Returners from 2018 include: Katia Dizon, Mikeila Banda, Sarah Weiby, Kaitlyn Viray, Lex Chavarria, Evelyn Clonts. Gavilan is coached by Kevin Kramer, in his fifth season in charge of the Rams Beach Volleyball program.

Irvine Valley was awarded the #3 seed from Southern California as the Lasers defeated the San Diego Mesa Olympians and the Saddleback Gauchos to return to the State Championship for the fourth time in five seasons. The Lasers finished the 2018 season co-Champions of the Orange Empire Conference with the Golden West Rustlers with a record of 6-0 and an overall record of 12-9. Irvine Valley has faced one other State Championship participant during the 2019 regular season, Gavilan, defeating the Rams on February 22, by a score of 5-0. Returners from 2018 include: Alyssa Vortouni, Alison Kent, Renata Bath, Emilie Austin, Alma Entesari. Irvine Valley is coached by Tom Pestolesi, in his fifth season in charge of the Lasers Beach Volleyball program.

El Camino was awarded the #4 seed from Southern California as the Warriors defeated the Bakersfield Renegades and the Cypress Chargers in the Regional Final, en route to their first State Championship appearance. The Warriors finished the 2018 season in second place in the South Coast Conference with a record of 3-3 and an overall record of 14-6. El Camino has faced one other State Championship participant during the 2019 regular season, South Coast Conference opponent Long Beach City, narrowly falling to the Vikings twice. The first time on March 22, by a score of 3-2 and then on April 12, also by a score of 3-2.  Returners from 2018 include: Renee Brydon, Jerephina Leilua, Sophia Loiola, Chantell Miranda. El Camino is coached by Le Valley Pattison, in her fifth season in charge of the Warriors Beach Volleyball program.

Grossmont, Gavilan and El Camino will comprise Pool 1 while Sierra, Long Beach City and Irvine Valley will make up Pool 2. Teams will play each team in their respective pool once with the top pool winners squaring off for the CCCAA Championship at 4 p.m. Cabrillo downed MiraCosta, 3-0, for last year's title.

The team competition yields to the individual tournament that begins on Friday morning. Eight pools consisting of four pairs each will begin in waves at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the top two teams in each pool advancing to single-elimination bracket play on Saturday.

The championship, claimed by Irvine Valley's Megan Ramseyer and Taira Ka'awaloa last year, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Beach volleyball is the fastest-growing sport among California community colleges. A total of 36 schools sponsor the sport, up from 24 in 2016 and 16 in its inaugural 2015 season.