Irvine Valley’s athlete of the week for Dec. 2 is sophomore women’s volleyball player Lea Kruse.
Kruse, a two-time Orange Empire Conference co-MVP, has helped lead the Lasers to their third state championship appearance in a row.
The outside hitter had 12 kills, 13 digs, two blocks and one ace as Irvine Valley defeated Orange Coast, 25-18, 25-16, 25-12, in a regional playoff match on Saturday at home to secure a spot in the state event.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 25-0 with the sweep.
It was the Lasers’ 21st sweep of the season. IVC has also dropped just four sets all year (75-4).
Irvine Valley moves on to the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship, starting Friday at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
The Lasers, who are the top seed from Southern California, take on the No. 4 team from Northern California, American River, at 7 p.m. American River is the defending state champion.
Kruse, who was also named an all-state and all-region player this year, leads the Lasers in kills and aces and is second in digs.
She is averaging 3.77 kills, 3.61 digs and 0.68 aces per set.
Kruse has recorded double-digit kills in 18 of 25 matches this year and has five matches with at least 15 kills, including a season-best 20 kills in Irvine Valley’s key four-set conference win at Cypress on Nov. 15.
In her last seven matches, Kruse has 94 kills and 76 digs.
She has 16 matches with at least 10 digs on the season with a season-best 21 in a four-set win over MiraCosta on Sept. 13.
Kruse has had quite a career already at IVC. She was a key reason the Lasers went 21-2 overall and made the semifinals of the state tournament last year. She has also been a stellar beach volleyball player for the Lasers.
The 2019 beach squad was named Irvine Valley's team of the year as part of the athletic department's 19th Annual Awards.
The Lasers finished tied for third at the CCAA State Championship in May, went 15-1 against community college opponents on the year and won the Orange Empire Conference with a record of 10-0.
The top pairs team of Renata Bath and Kruse also finished third individually at the state event at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.