Men’s volleyball continues their dominant season


Ricardo Lorja secures a kill during the second set against the Griffins. Photo Credit: Andres Armenta/The Mesa Press.

Clay Fordham, Sports Editor

The Mesa men’s volleyball team aimed to stay red hot riding a five-match winning streak entering the March 22 contest. Heading into an important stretch of conference games, Mesa took care of business on the road with a clean 3-0 sweep versus Grossmont College. 

Offensively, the Olympians were led by sophomore outside hitter Jorge Hernandez and freshman middle blocker Ricardo Lorja. Lorja had seven kills and accounted for five solo blocks. Hernandez led the team with 10 kills while posting an incredibly efficient .438 kill percentage on Wednesday night. “Jorge played phenomenal [and] has played really well the past couple nights,” said head coach David Profitt. Coach Profitt alluded that Hernandez had dealt with some health issues early on this season, but he then remarked, “He’s back to full power now.” 

From the get-go, the Olympians’ bench overwhelmed the atmosphere with the loud claps and chants that echoed throughout the gym. Perhaps the energy they were carrying was a telling sign of what was in store. “We talk a lot about having our bench be loud and active. It’s part of our culture here at Mesa,” said Profitt. “It really does add a lot to the guys who are on the team. It’s something we preach.”

After an early first set kill by Grossmont, to make it 5-3, Mesa put their foot to the metal and jumped out to a controlling 11-3 lead. These scoring spurts continuously fueled the Olympians for the rest of the night. 

Mesa cleared the first set with a comfortable 25-14 win, and the hot-hand(s) carried over into the second set with emphatic back-to-back kills courtesy of sophomore middle blocker Santiago Mantovani and freshman outside hitter TJ Letuligasenoa. Much like the latter, the Olympians won this set by a margin of 25-16.

The third and final set left room for a little bit of drama. On cruise control for most of the night, the Olympians had to bear down when Grossmont closed within one point.

After a service error from the Griffins, freshman opposite hitter Austin Kinnear lined up a kill to conclude a 25-22 Olympians win. 

Beaming smiles were visible on the Mesa sideline, as Letuligasenoa summed it up well with much laughter, “We’re going to bring our positive energy and bring it to each game. Good vibes only!”

The men’s volleyball team currently ranks fourth in the state, according to the California Community College Men’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCMVCA).

Although matches like this allowed some players to rest and others to play, everyone is expected to bring their A-game next time out.

One of their tougher challenges, thus far, has been San Diego Miramar College, Mesa defeated Miramar in five sets on March 15, and they look to face off once again, March 24 on the Jets home court. 

Miramar brings a talented squad to the floor, but Hernandez has confidence in the game plan.

“At this level of play, it’s all about getting the other team out of their system. Miramar is good offensively – just like we are,” said Hernandez.