PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats boys volleyball team completed a ridiculous comeback victory on Tuesday night in the Gil Asa Gymnasium against the Morro Bay Pirates. After two sets, the ‘Cats found themselves staring at an 0-2 hole in a first to five games match and had to climb all the way out, breaking the spirit of the 11-3 Pirates on the way.
The match was completely a tale of two halves and about which team wanted it more. With Paso Robles coming out slow the Pirates jumped out to a quick lead and grabbed the first game 25-18. The team in crimson was playing with an unusually low amount of energy and also dropped the second set, this time a little closer at 25-21.
“Well, we started a little slow and ended up 0-2 after the first two sets,” Bearcats head coach Drew Nenow said after the game. “And I just told them that their goal was to push it to five sets, that was it. That was all they needed to focus on, do it one set at a time and get to that fifth set.”
Like flicking on a switch in dark room the Bearcats energy and emotion changed and they ignited in the third set. When falling down early as Paso Robles did it becomes not only the coach’s job but the responsibility of the team's leaders to take it upon themselves to fire up the rest of the young team, which is exactly what outside hitter Hector Arteaga began doing. Arteaga began fist pumping and celebrating with the intensity of a pregame haka dance after each Bearcat point.
The Bearcats took the third set with relative ease winning by seven points, 25-17, but their biggest obstacle was still in front of them. The fourth set felt like the fight scene from “Rocky III” as each team took their turn delivering jabs. Just as Rocky was knocked down twice against Clubber Lang and it seemed as if hope was lost, Paso Robles was staring at game point, 24-21. With the Pirates almost prematurely celebrating their victory, the Bearcats started raining down shot after shot and tied to game up at 24.
But 25 points was not enough to decide the fourth set, it went all the way into the
In the fifth and final game, Paso Robles ran away with victory winning by the largest margin of any of the games despite the fact that fifth set is 10 points shorter than a normal game, 15-5.
“They turned the corner not just in this match but in our season,” Nenow said with a huge smile on his face. “We have dealt with a lot of emotion and a lot of growing pains as a young team and man they grew up quick tonight I am just so proud of them. Winning that fourth set like that at 31-29, it was important.”
The Pirates are the Los Padres League Champions from a year ago and have made the leap to the Mountain League this season. So far in the early part of the year, the Pirates have been even more dominant than last year but will start the Mountain League 0-1 after falling to the Bearcats in the league opener.
Paso Robles is now 5-6 on the season but more importantly 1-0 in league play. The Bearcats finished third in the PAC 8 a year ago and have a young team this season. They will look to go 2-0 on Thursday night when they host the San Luis Obispo Tigers.