The Cabrillo College Seahawks saw their bid for a third California Community College Athletic Association state championship come to a stunning halt in a heartbreaking 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-13 loss to San Joaquin Delta College on Saturday night at Solano Community College in Fairfield.
State champion in 2013 and 2015 and runner-up in 2014, Cabrillo had won 18 straight matches, including its state quarterfinal match against San Diego City College in a sweep, before Saturday night’s loss.
The Seahawks (30-2), the No. 1 seed from the North, had also swept Delta (25-5), which lost to Irvine Valley College in the championship game on Sunday, in early September.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Cabrillo head coach Gabby Houston-Neville told CCCAA.org. “Delta played great defense.”
Cabrillo led 8-2 in the fifth set and and 13-11 before Delta scored four straight to shock the Seahawks and advance.
“I think in the fifth, we had some players who were playing afraid to lose and others who were saying let’s get the next point,” Houston-Neville said. “We just seemed to be off a little. It was a great season for us and I can’t be prouder of our team. We had an outstanding two matches here, and I can’t ask for more from them.”
Cabrillo sophomore outside hitter Camryn Rocha and freshman right side hitter Kylie Kvam combined for 36 kills, while freshman outside hitter Jolie Samuelson added 10 kills, seven digs and two aces.
Freshman setter Mari Molina had 53 assists, seven digs, four kills and an ace.
Sophomore libero Alyssa Nelson chipped in with a team-high 19 digs and three aces.
Cabrillo, which had not dropped a set since mid-October en route to its 11th straight conference title, looked to be rolling to its fourth appearance in the state final in the last five years after sweeping S.D.C.C., 25-16, 25-14, 25-21, earlier in the day.
Kvam paced the team with 14 kills and also made 10 digs, while Samuelson finished with nine kills and 11 digs. Molina had 33 assists, 10 digs and three kills in the sweep, which set the Seahawks up with a favorable matchup against Delta.
Cabrillo jumped out to a two-set lead in the semifinal but could not put Delta away over the final three sets.
The Seahawks led 22-21 in the third after a kill from Rocha but Delta scored four straight to extend the match to a fourth game.
Delta jumped on Cabrillo in the fourth, leading 9-2 early on and holding off a late comeback bid. Down 17-10, the Seahawks charged back to make it 19-17 but Delta scored three straight and did just enough down the stretch to force a deciding fifth game.
Kills from Kvam and Rocha put Cabrillo up 8-2 in the fifth but Delta stormed back with a 7-1 run to tie it up a nine-all.
Two Delta errors gave Cabrillo a 13-11 lead but the Mustangs rallied late with four straight points to knock off the Seahawks.