New coach brings new success to ECC volleyball

by Robb Fulcher

Former Mira Costa assistant volleyball coach Richard Blount and player Ryan Stuntz celebrate Tuesday night’s victory over Golden West. Photo by Ray Vidal

After only its second season under coach Richard Blount, El Camino College’s men’s volleyball team has advance to the Final Four of the Southern California Regional playoffs for the first time since 1988.

Tuesday night’s 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23 victory over the Golden West College Rustlers in El Camino’s South Gym propels the Warriors into a semifinal contest with Orange Coast College. The match will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 27 at Long Beach Community College.

The Warriors entered Tuesday’s contest with an 11-5 record, a dramatic turnaround from last year’s 5-11 finish.

"It’s been some time since we’ve hosted a playoff game. Last year we were 5-11, so that’s a nice turnaround, and it’s compliments of the players who stuck around from last year. It’s because of them that we are where we are," Blount said.

Returning players include Tamer George, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Mira Costa High School, who is hitting .439, meaning that 439 of his 1,000 hits result in a kill.

Other returners are Ben Napoleon, 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Kapaa, Hawaii; James Keaolio, a 5-foot-11 setter from Kauai, Hawaii; Christian Ryder, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker from Mira Costa; and Nick Kimose, a 6-foot-4 outside hitter from Bishop Montgomery High School.

The last Warriors team to reach the semifinals was a 1982 squad that included Brent Frohoff, who would later star as a professional player, Don Shaw, Jim Leonard, Rich Rosales, Gary Bruckner, Ed Ivedke.

Blount was an assistant coach at his alma mater Mira Costa for six years before being chosen to head ECC’s volleyball program. The Hermosa native also coached at Palos Verdes High and has coached local club teams. ER