SBCC snaps Long Beach’s 29-match WSC win streak

SBCC rallied from a 2-1 deficit Wednesday night to shock Long Beach City 3-2 in a men’s volleyball match at Long Beach. The scores were 17-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-12, 15-13. 

It was the first WSC loss for the Vikings (11-3, 6-1) this year and snapped their 29-match win streak that started three years ago. Long Beach, which had won 10 straight overall, had only lost two sets in six WSC matches this year.

Justin Hertlein had 17 kills and seven digs for the Vaqueros (9-6, 6-2 WSC), who won their fifth straight to move with a half-game of first place. Justin Carroll and Kyle Benskin added 11 kills apiece and Michael Naki had nine kills and 11 digs.

“Everyone played spectacular,” said first-year coach Armen Zakarian. “Our game plan was to take away their outsides and force them to hit into the heart of our defense. We executed it perfectly.”

Kaahukane Leite-Ah Yo had 49 assists and Jacob Jenkins contributed eight digs. Hertlein, Benskin and Ah Yo each had three block assists.

The Vaqueros, who fell to Long Beach 3-0 on March 19, rallied from a 20-17 deficit to win the second set and dominated the fourth. In the fifth set, they scored seven straight points and built a 13-8 lead on an ace by Ah Yo. They capped the upset on kills by Hertlein and Naki.

“We came out completely inspired in the fourth game and they were deflated,” said Zakarian. “We were ahead 23-11 and that’s unheard of against a team like Long Beach. It was a great overall team effort. We got a few key serving runs from Morgan Youngs and Logan Wais.

“The guys are believing. I told them when I got here that we could get back in the playoffs and we took a big step in that direction tonight.”

The Vaqueros will host Santa Monica in their final regular-season home match on Wednesday at 6 p.m.