History was made this past weekend in Saratoga, CA as the Long Beach City College beach volleyball team traveled to West Valley College this to compete in the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championships. As a team, the Vikings came back with silver swinging from their necks as they placed second in the state championships after defeating Feather River (4-1) and Grossmont (3-2). Furthermore, the solid tandem of sophomore Sarah Miller (Long Beach, CA) and Paige Panter (Southgate, TX) reigned supreme in the 2017 CCCAA Individual State Championships and added to their medal count with a gold medal.
On Friday, May 5th, the Vikings entered into a state tournament of four that included three Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) teams consisting of Long Beach, Grossmont, and MiraCosta. Feather River completed the quartet after they went undefeated on the season.
LBCC began the day with a contest against MiraCosta, but fell by the final score of 4-1. However, Long Beach remained poised and rebounded nicely against Feather River and handed them their second loss of the year by the final score of 4-1. Long Beach muscled up the following match by taking down Grossmont, 3-2, after losing to them in their previous three meetings.
Earning a second-place finish at the State Championships is a huge accomplishment for a first-year program, but more excitement was to come for the team as Miller and Panter entered into the Individual Championships comprised of a field of 32 teams.
The duo acted as the fourth seed and began the championships with a two-set sweep over No. 29 Gerard and Boja of Gavilan by scores of 21-12 and 21-10 to reach the second round. The tandem carried over their momentum into the second stage and cruised through No. 20 Simental and Wright of Ventura with scores reading 21-10 and 21-12 to advance to the quarter finals.
The quarter finals featured a PCAC matchup that was familiar with Miller and Panter taking on MiraCosta's 28th ranked Alper and Sellers. They had not faced off during the regular season as Alper and Sellers acted as MCC's second flight. Miller and Panter were relentless in another two-set sweep after facing match point three times in the first set. They eventually advanced after final scores of 22-20 and 23-21.
The pair reached the championship round and were set to face off against another PCAC team in the form of El Camino's Shimamoto and Hammond as they acted as the 28th seed in the tournament.
Miller and Panter held the advantage as they defeated the pair twice on the season in set-sweeps and continued the streak by dominating the match with scores of 21-18 and 21-18 en route to a gold medal.
"It's very exciting to put Long Beach City on the map," said Misty May-Treanor, the Head Coach for both indoor and beach at LBCC, "because looking at this tournament overall, our pairs were solid and even (finishing) second in the state (as a team), I feel like if you put us on paper, not a lot of people would've expected us to be here."
"I'm very excited for these young ladies," she added. "I'm very proud of them."
"It's very exciting," said Miller. "I'm really happy that we pulled out the win together as a team. I love working with (Paige)."
Panter said the victory was the culmination of hard work that's enveloped the pair since the start of the season.
"The whole season really, really built up to this moment," she said. "It's a really exciting thing for the both of us."