Top-seeded Orange Coast College is the overwhelming favorite to win the state junior college men's volleyball tournament. The Pirates swept their two matches against No. 2 Pierce and are coming off a relatively easy win over third-seeded Santa Barbara.
However, if trends mean anything, it's not Orange Coast's turn.
The Pirates won state titles in 1987 and '89. Pierce has won championships in even years since 1986.
Could the pattern continue when the Final Four is played today at Santa Monica College?
"I don't know why, but I'm hanging my hat on (that) that it will," said Ken Stanley, Pierce's coach.
Orange Coast (20-2) will open the tournament at 10:30 a.m. against American River (13-3), the top team from Northern California. Pierce (20-2) will play Santa Barbara (19-3) at noon.
The championship match will be played at 7 p.m. and a match for third place is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Pierce has a pair of wins against Santa Barbara this season, both "five-game wars," according to Stanley.
Pierce is led by a trio of All-South Coast Conference selections--middle hitter Tony Zapata, outside hitter Ed Gilson and setter Tyler Bates.