Moorpark College men’s volleyball to face Irvine Valley in first round playoff match-up


Dylan Haskell goes for the kill after beautiful set up from teammate Steven Weese Friday, April 5 in Moorpark Calif. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

By Danny Stipanovich

The No. 5 Moorpark Raiders will go up against the No. 4 Irvine Valley Lasers on Friday at 6 p.m. in the first round of CCCAA playoffs.

Three months ago, the Moorpark Raiders men’s volleyball team set their goals straight.

“We expect to at least make a run in the playoffs, if not go to state,” sophomore middle blocker Dylan Haskell said after their exhibition alumni game back in January.

Fast forward 17 matches, it may not have been the easiest journey, but they are exactly where they expected to be.

They find themselves traveling to Orange County to face off the No. 4 Irvine Valley Lasers on April 19 at 6 p.m. in the CCCAA quarterfinals.

Gurpreet Ghotra looks to his team to reinforce strategy in between points Friday, April 5 in Moorpark Calif. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

The Raiders opened their season at 5-1 throughout their first six games, including victories over No. 6 Santiago Canyon, No. 7 Grossmont, and No. 8 Santa Barbara.

However, after their home victory over Santa Barbara on February 27, they finished 0-4 against teams over .500 and ended 10-7 overall, 6-6 WSC.

They ended their season with a playoff, clinching a 3-1 road victory over conference rivals and defending state champions, the LA Pierce Bahamas.

Despite ending with an away win, the Raiders struggled on the road, going 3-5. However, the Lasers are vulnerable at home, only finishing 5-5. They are also coming off a home sweep loss against the Santiago Canyon Hawks (11-8, 3-5), a team the Raiders swept earlier in the year.

The Lasers finished 13-7 overall, 5-3 conference, earning second place in the Orange Empire conference. They boast one of the most complete starting lineups of all California, with five players finishing with over 100 kills, and a setter, Isaiah Powell, who leads the state in service aces with 56.

With one of the strongest middle blocking duos in the state, the Raiders come prepared. Dylan Haskell finished with 1.35 blocks per set, second in the state, while freshman Brandon Dela Fuente finished fourth in the state with 1.11 blockers per set.

Sophomore and freshman outside hitters Jordan Moses and Ryan Horan led the Raiders offense this year with 179 and 125 kills. Freshman setter Steven Weese controlled the offense, with a state-leading 610 assists and a team-high of 32 service aces.

“Going into playoffs…it’s about doing what we need to do,” said sophomore outside hitter Sean Fitzpatrick. “If we play our game, good things will happen.”

Gurpreet Ghotra and Brent Rasmussen rejoice in high spirits with their team in between sets Friday, April 5 in Moorpark Calif. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

The winner of Friday night’s game will move on to the semi-finals round and face the winner of Orange Coast (21-0) versus Santa Barbara City College (11-7).