Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team loses in three sets to top team in state

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team was looking for a fast start to Orange Empire Conference play on Wednesday night at home.

But the Lasers, ranked No. 4 in the state, ran into the top squad around.

No. 1 and undefeated Orange Coast defeated Irvine Valley, 25-16, 25-20, 25-18, on Dig Pink Night at IVC.

The win improved Orange Coast's record to 13-0 overall. The Pirates have dropped just five sets all season.

Irvine Valley's record slipped to 8-5 overall.

Coast jumped out of the gate quick and never looked back in the opening set.

Irvine Valley had its opportunities in the second set. The Lasers went up, 7-3, on a kill and then a block by freshman middle blocker Grant Marocchi.

Irvine Valley led by as many as five points in the set (12-7). And IVC was still up, 17-14, after a missed Orange Coast serve and then, 19-16, after a kill by freshman outside hitter Demetre Gossett.

But that was as good is it would get for the Lasers in the set.

OCC ripped off seven straight points to take the lead in the set for good at 23-19.

Orange Coast earned set point on a service error by IVC and then Kyle McCauley and Aiden Wolf-Nielsen combined for a block to end the set for the Pirates.

The Pirates raced out to a big lead in the third set. Irvine Valley tried to climb back into it with back-to-back aces by Gossett to make it 19-15.

But Orange Coast just had too much. A kill by Jake Loudenback made it 24-16 and then another kill by Loudenback three points later finished the match.

Orange Coast had 30 kills as a team with just six hitting errors the entire night.

Pirates were led by Jack Flynn with nine kills, with McCauley close behind with eight kills and a team-best five block assists. Setters Enzo Boggio and Jordan Rodriguez paced the offense with a combined 27 assists, while Braden Neumann anchored the defense with six digs.

Irvine Valley hit just .212 on the night. The Lasers got a solid match from freshman middle blocker Tristan Belsby, who finished with 13 kills and hit .750. Marocchi had six kills and Gossette finished with five kills and three aces.

Irvine Valley plays again on Friday at Fullerton at 6 p.m.

Notes: Between the second and third set of Wednesday night's match, Irvine Valley women's volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi honored four of his players. Among the honorees was sophomore libero Renata Bath, who was given her All-American trophy along with her co-Orange Empire conference MVP certificate from former All-American teammate and current Butler player Megan Ramseyer. Also honored were co-OEC MVP freshman outside hitter Lea Kruse, first-team all-conference player Alyssa Vortouni and second-team all-conference players setter Truth Hafey and middle blocker Kristin Austin.

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