Viveros, a senior opposite hitter on the Camarillo High boys’ volleyball team, said he didn’t know why the Scorpions turned in a lackluster performance during the biggest match of the season.
Maybe it was overconfidence or a lack of intensity. Maybe the team had lunch too close to match time, he said.
The Scorpions were baffled.
“Whatever it was,” Viveros said, “we just didn’t get the job done.”
Last weekend, Camarillo came up short in its quest to capture the school’s first section title since 2003 after South Pasadena swept Camarillo 27-25, 25-13, 26-24 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 finale at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
Camarillo’s top hitters—Viveros, Owen Yoshimoto and Brandon Tran—missed on most of their swings and struggled to get the ball over the net.
“They had a lot of energy and height,” said Tran, a senior middle blocker. “They were the tallest team we faced in the playoffs. We didn’t come out as fired up as they did.”
While most of the Scorpions expressed disappointment at falling short of the ultimate prize, Camarillo head coach Rob Vandermay held the runner-up plaque proudly.
“There are a lot of teams in our division that would love to be in our position,” Vandermay said. “We got to play in a nice gym and had an award ceremony. All our guys should be proud. They were ranked No. 1 most of the season and lost in the championship game.
“We had one of the best seasons in school history.”
The first set had the makings of an epic championship match. It was a back-and-forth battle as the Scorpion and Tiger fans cheered their teams.
Camarillo led 25-24 after a Yoshimoto kill, but the Tigers rallied for the next three points to secure the first game.
After that, it went downhill for the Scorpions. South Pasadena easily took the second set for a commanding 2-0 advantage.
“Momentum is big in volleyball,” said Yoshimoto, a senior outside hitter who recorded a team-high 19 kills. “South Pas had all the momentum. Their crowd was really into it. We couldn’t recover in the second set. We were out of it.
“The first set took a lot out of us because we thought we would win. We were overconfident and cocky.”
Camarillo regained its focus for a closer third set. Momentum, however, was on the Tigers’ side again.
“Camarillo gave us a good battle,” said Quinn Hutchings, South Pasadena’s 6-foot-8 senior middle blocker. “We wanted this championship more than anything. We were all fired up. Nothing was going to stop us.”
South Pasadena avenged a quarterfinal loss to Camarillo in 2012
Camarillo defeated Paraclete, Downey, Santa Monica and Hemet before facing the Tigers.
Viveros said the Santa Monica match, which went to five games, was the team’s signature victory this spring.
“Prom night was the same day as the Santa Monica match,” Viveros said. “We were all worried we wouldn’t make it to prom. We were hoping to win in straight sets, but that didn’t happen. We had to win the fourth and fifth set.
“That showed that we’re a team that never gives up. We got swept (against South Pasadena), but we fought until the finish.”
The Scorpions said goodbye to seniors Yoshimoto, Tran, Viveros, Patrick Baguinon, Christian Gonzalez, Chris Salas, Brian Benson, Ish Enriquez, Satbir Dhaliwal and JT Vega.
“I remember coaching the seniors when they were freshmen,” Vandermay said. “I told my coaches we had a special group and we should have a big year when they become seniors. The seniors met expectations. They have made their school proud.”
Sophomore setter Matt Yoshimoto, junior outside hitter Michael McCooey, sophomore opposite hitter Trevor Cooper, sophomore defensive specialist Kai Thordarson and junior outside hitter Davis Keairns are expected to be the Scorpions’ top standouts next season.
“Matt will be motivated to return to this stage and win it all,” Owen Yoshimoto said about his younger brother. Owen Yoshimoto will play volleyball at Santa Barbara City College. “I know guys like Michael and Trevor will continue to get better.
“We have a bright future.”