The feeling of 'five sets'.
For the second time in three years, a Banning team not normally known for volleyball would push the Pirates to the brink in this Marine League match, following up their 2011 exploits where they actually took a 2-1 lead in that match, but just like that meeting, they were cut off at the pass by senior middle blocker Mila Maricic.
The four-year veteran served a booming ace in the fifth and deciding set to thwart another feeling... the feeling of an upset, as San Pedro would edge Banning 25-15, 22-25, 25-13, 23-25, 15-7 in a high profile encounter that saw the Pirates take on a familiar face in Banning coach Sam Tejada, who formerly coached the Pirates from 2007-2009.
During those years under Tejada, San Pedro went 34-0 in Marine League matches and reached the 2009 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I finals.
San Pedro (3-1 overall, 2-0 league) would rely on the powerful and suddenly quick serving of junior outside hitter Paige Peterson to the tune of four aces to storm to a dominant win in the first set, but Banning's late flurry in that set after being down 24-9 would parlay into a stunning win in the second set, where the Pilots (1-3, 0-2) would score the final three points after the second set was tied at 22.
The third set was more of the same in the first set, and Peterson would add her total of aces to 10 at that point, while Maricic, senior outside hitter Katie Sullivan and junior opposite hitter Kirsten Bauman had their way at the net, but a hot start from Banning brought that feeling back in the fourth set. San Pedro withstood Banning's latest charge to take a 21-20 lead in the fourth set, and were dead set on ending the match... but the Pilots would eventually take control and win, forcing the fifth set.
Senior setter Vanessa Ruiz opened the fifth set by slicing an service ace off the top of the net that fooled the Pilots for the first point, and it went on from there.
Three kills from Maricic, kills by Bauman, Sullivan and Peterson, along with booming aces from Peterson and junior defensive specialist Jessica Utley was enough to set up match point, and Marcic's fourth ace of the match would put a cap on San Pedro's second straight victory, running their all-time record against Banning to 25-0 since 2001.
Maricic finished with 17 kills and four blocks to power San Pedro. Peterson had 12 aces and two kills, Utley had four aces, Ruiz had five aces, Bauman had seven kills, and Sullivan, a transfer from Mary Star, had a season-high 14 kills for the Pirates, who continue Marine League play on Thursday against two-time defending league champion Narbonne of Harbor City, who was last year's City Section Division I runner-up.