Tennis victory, volleyball heartbreak!

Sharon Reibstein (in foreground) waits, as her teammate, Jazmin Ortiz serves. The two won the Southern California doubles championship

By William Dudley

GROSSMONT COLLEGE –A dynamic women’s tennis rivalry/partnership and an oh-so-close comeback in men’s volleyball highlighted a successful spring sports campaign for Grossmont College.

Women’s tennis, basketball, and softball all won Pacific Coast Conference titles, as did the men’s swim/dive team.  Women’s tennis and men’s volleyball carried their victorious ways to the state level.

Jazmin Ortiz and Sharon Reibstein, the top two players for women’s tennis coach Megan Haber, found themselves constantly playing for regional and state title matches – either against each other in singles, or together in doubles.

In the Southern California regional individual tournament, held at Grossmont College in May 5-7, Ortiz and Reibstein found themselves playing against each other for the regional championship.  Reibstein won 6-1, 6-3.

The consensus  judgment on how it felt to compete against one’s teammate, according to the players and Coach Haber, was “weird.” Haber noted that in such events she did not coach as actively as she sometimes does, but rather just kicked back and enjoyed watching the match.

No hard feelings, however, as Ortiz and Reibstein teamed together to power through two teams in one day. They beat Nicci Yvanovich and Amy Sagraves of Santa Barbara City college 6-2, 6-2, then defeated Krystal Hansrad and Criss Rodriguez  of Santa Monica 6-2, 7-6, to win the Southern California doubles championship.

The team then traveled to Fresno for the Community College State Women‘s Tennis. There Reibstein and Ortiz both fell victim to the same player – Katerina Mozolyuk of Santa Monica Community College. She defeated Reibstein in straight sets 6-1, 6-4, then in the final beat Ortiz in three sets 6-0, 6-7, 6-3.

The state doubles final was a rematch of the Southern California tournament, but with a different ending, as Hansard and Rodriguez (Santa Monica) defeated Ortiz and Reibstein 6-2, 6-1.

High-flying men’s volleyball team fought their way through the finals but lost eventually to Irvine Valley College. Photo by Stephen Harvey

For men’s volleyball, this was to be the final season under head coach Fred Featherstone, who is retiring from Grossmont after a 22-year coaching stint.

After compiling a 10-2 conference record (good for second place), the Griffins beat  El Camino in the first round of the junior college state championship tournament held in Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. The Griffins then upset top-seeded Long Beach State in four sets (17-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22) avenging a February regular season loss.

It was the first time a Grossmont volleyball team had made it to the state final – the only San Diego County community college besides Palomar to ever make it that far.

However, in an epic five-set match against Irvine Valley College, the Griffins lost the first two sets by identical 17-25 scores. They then came back to win the next two 25-23 and 25-18. In the fifth match they fell behind again, only to mount yet another comeback. However, a high ball from Irvine fell just within the lines to deny what would have been a sweet finish for Featherstone.

“This is going to sting for a while,” he was quoted as saying after the match. “I’m proud of the guys for fighting their way back into it and not quitting.”

Jose Mendoza (14 kills in the match) and Shane Beatty (49 assists) were named to the all-tournament team.

Assistant coach Travis Lee is expected to take over the team next season, although no official announcement has been made.

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