SAN DIEGO, Calif. - For the second year in a row and third in the last four seasons, Grossmont College captured the San Diego Mesa Invitational championship. The 32nd edition of the tourney ended Sept. 9 with the Griffins sweeping their long-time PCAC rival San Diego Mesa in the title match, 25-22, 25-12, 25-11.
"Our team is learning and growing a lot every week," said Grossmont head coach Jamie Ivers. "We are young but probably the most athletic team we have had at Grossmont College. It was great to see these players have pressure put on them, rise to the occasion or have the wheels fall off at times, and still be able to regroup and win a match. We learned a lot about ourselves this weekend in order to prepare for a very tough next couple of weeks."
Grossmont has played many storied matches against fellow SoCal power Pierce, including rallying for a 5-set win over the Brahmas, 25-21, 20-25, 14-25, 25-22, 15-11, in the semifinals. Alexcis Morris, a freshman MB, pounded 14 kills in the win. Ivers cited Morris as her team's top player at the tournament.
The state No. 6-ranked Griffins opened the tourney on Sept. 8 with a sweep over an improved Pasadena City College team, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21. Grossmont totaled 13 aces, including four each by Lopez and second-year OH Felicia Marshall (plus six kills).
Second-place and 20th-ranked SD Mesa advanced to the finals with a wild 5-set victory over Moorpark, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11. The host Olympians were led by frosh OH Ana Huberty with 12 kills. Mesa landed 16 aces including five each by sophomore OH Casey Donnelly (plus six kills and 12 digs) and freshman DS Robyn Brooks. Mesa swept Mt. San Antonio and finished 2-1 overall.
Moorpark opened its season at the Mesa invite and went the distance to topple Cypress, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-12, 15-5. Freshman OH Morgan Osland ripped 15 kills and had 13 digs.
Later, No. 8-rated Pierce handed #21 Moorpark a 4-set defeat, 25-20, 29-31, 25-15, 25-16, for third place as sophomore OH Shari Volpis delivered 14 kills. Letterman libero Julia Izquierdo totaled 23 digs and three aces.
No. 13-ranked Cypress went 2-1 with a 5-set triumph over Mt. SAC and a 4-set win over PCC. Second-year MB Brianna Johnson had a monster tourney with 54 kills, including 23 in the Mt. SAC victory.
(Courtesy Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA SID)