In leading up to the official start of the 2019-20 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 27 with the IVC men's soccer team hosting Rio Hondo and the Laser women's soccer team playing at San Diego Mesa, the Irvine Valley athletic department will count down the top 10 sports stories from the 2018-19 school year.
The No. 7 story on the list is Irvine Valley athletics handing out its scholar athletes, athletes of the year and character champion award winners among others. The 2018-19 Scholar-Athletes Awards program was the 19th of such in college history. Women's volleyball player Lea Kruse and baseball player Kyle Dobson were picked as the athletes of the year and volleyball player Renata Bath and men's soccer player Grant Joyce were chosen as the scholar athletes of the year. Other notable awards included Natasha Dillon of women's basketball and Grant Marrochi of men's volleyball being named IVC's character champion award winners for the OEC. A program-record 103 scholar athletes honored during the 2018-19 school year at IVC. The full athletic awards program can be viewed here
Indoor and beach volleyball player Lea Kruse and baseball player Kyle Dobson were selected as Irvine Valley's athletes of the year for the 2018-19 school year as part of the athletic department's 19th Annual Awards.
Kruse had two great seasons during 2018-19 for the Lasers.
She was named co-Most Valuable player of the Orange Empire Conference during both the indoor volleyball season in the fall and the beach season in the spring.
Kruse helped lead Irvine Valley to conference titles in both seasons.
The Laser indoor team finished with a record of 21-2 overall and reached the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship event.
Kruse, a freshman outside hitter, averaged 3.33 kills and 2.77 digs per set and had a hitting percentage of .269 on the year.
During the regular season, she ranked third in the conference in kills per set and fourth in hitting percentage.
Kruse, originally from Germany, recorded a season-best 20 kills in Irvine Valley's three-set win at Orange Coast on Nov. 9.
On the beach in the spring, Kruse helped IVC to another state championship appearance. The team ended up tied for third in the event in Chula Vista in April.
Her and teammate Renata Bath also finished third in the individual pairs portion of the state competition.
Irvine Valley's women's beach volleyball team ended up ranked third in the state in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll of the season.
Dobson, a freshman left fielder, was named first team all-Orange Empire Conference after a stellar year.
He played in all 40 of Irvine Valley's games and led the Lasers with a .395 batting average, 62 hits, eight doubles and 38 RBI.
Dobson also had a team-best .476 on base percentage. He also led the team in walks (23) and was third in slugging percentage (.446).
He also tied for the team lead in total bases with 70.
He came out of the gate fast, going 6 for 10 with two runs scored, two doubles, two RBI and a stolen base as Irvine Valley split a pair of games with Long Beach City to open the year.
Dobson ended up with 22 multi-hit games, including recording at least three hits in seven contests and having four hits in two games.
He went 4 for 5 with a run scored and a double in Irvine Valley's 3-2 win over San Diego Mesa on Feb. 12 and 4 for 4 with a run scored and a walk in Irvine Valley's 10-8 victory over Orange Coast on Mar. 16.
Dobson drove in a season-high four runs, while also going 2 for 3 with a run and a double in Irvine Valley's 13-3 triumph over Grossmont on Feb. 23.
Dobson, out of Santa Margarita High, helped Irvine Valley finish with a 20-19-1 record and just miss making the California Community College Athletic Association Playoffs.
Sophomore women's indoor and beach volleyball player Renata Bath and sophomore men's soccer player Grant Joyce were honored by the Exchange Club of Irvine at a luncheon at the end of the 2018-19 school year for being Irvine Valley's scholar athletes of the year.
Award winners epitomized achievement in competition and in the classroom, and demonstrated that excellence is possible in all arenas through their dedication and work ethic.
Bath definitely made her mark for the Irvine Valley women's indoor volleyball and women's beach volleyball programs – both on and off the court.
Bath reached the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship semifinals in the pairs event with teammate Lea Kruse and helped her IVC squad finish third in the state championship team event.
Bath, who played the libero position for IVC indoors, was named co-Most Valuable Player of the Orange Empire Conference in the fall of 2018 after helping her team win a second OEC title in a row and make another trip to the state tournament.
She was also picked All-State by the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association and second team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association in the fall of 2018.
Bath helped lead the Irvine Valley women's indoor team to a state championship and undefeated season in 2017.
The sophomore libero played a big part in IVC finishing with a 21-2 overall record indoors last fall.
Bath made things easier for the Lasers all season long with her ball control.
She had a team-leading 293 digs and is averaging 3.91 digs per set.
Bath ranked fifth in the Orange Empire Conference in digs per set at 3.58 during the regular season.
She had 10 digs or more in 18 matches, including Irvine Valley's final nine contests. She recorded 22 and then 21 digs, respectively in IVC's two matches at the state tournament in Solano.
Bath helped Irvine Valley win four conference titles (two with the indoor squad and two with the beach team) and also made the state tournament in beach volleyball both years.
She finished third with partner Lea Kruse at last weekend's CCCAA State Pairs Championship in Chula Vista.
Bath, originally from Brazil and out of Ja Jolla High, signed to play at UC Riverside next fall. She was a scholar athlete every semester at Irvine Valley and was planning on studying in pre-med.
Joyce made quite an impact in his two seasons with the Irvine Valley men's soccer team.
Joyce helped Irvine Valley to the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs in two straight seasons and was one of the best offensive players in the Orange Empire Conference this past year.
He helped IVC to a combined 20-15-8 overall record and 14-8-6 in conference over the last two years, including a 12-5-5 mark overall for the squad in 2017.
Last fall, Joyce had a standout season, leading the Lasers in goals, assists and points. He finished with 10 goals and nine assists for 29 points.
He ended up fourth in the conference in goals, second in assists and second in points.
Joyce had a three-goal and one-assist match in a 7-0 Irvine Valley win at Cypress on Sept. 25.
He also recorded two goals and two assists in Irvine Valley's 8-1 victory over Cypress at home on Oct. 26. And Joyce also notched a goal and an assist in Irvine Valley contests against Norco and Pasadena City.
He had three goals and one assist in his freshman year in 2017 at IVC and finished with 13 goals, 10 assists and 36 points in his two years at Irvine Valley.
Off the field, he was a scholar athlete for the Lasers every semester and a team leader. Joyce was also named a scholar athlete by the California Community Colleges Soccer Coaches Association for 2018.
Joyce, who came to IVC from Corona del Mar High, was planning on attending Cal State Fullerton, continuing his soccer career and studying in business accounting.