Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team outlasts Golden West in five-set thriller

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

Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team knew what was on the line in Friday's big Orange Empire Conference match-up at home against Golden West.

And the Lasers took care of business, in a five-set thriller to take over second place in the conference standings.

IVC's 30-32, 25-17, 25-15, 22-25, 15-11 win over the Rustlers improved their record to 10-5 overall and 2-1 in conference. Golden West's record went to 7-6 overall and 2-2 in conference.

The match, featuring two of the top-seven ranked teams in the state didn't disappoint.

Irvine Valley, ranked No. 4, in the state had its troubles with seventh-ranked Golden West early.

Golden West was up, 24-22, in the opening set before the Lasers tied it at 24.

The Rustlers proceeded to have seven more set points and closed it out at 32-30 on an ace by Tomas Beralas.

But Irvine Valley found some rhythm after that first set.

IVC jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set and began to roll.

A kill by freshman outside hitter Declan Holder gave IVC a 21-15 lead and a net call on Golden West made it 22-15.

IVC got to set point on an overpass kill by sophomore outside hitter Sean Carroll and two points later, Carroll recorded another kill to finish the set.

Irvine Valley got off to another fast start in the third game  and took control. The Lasers went on a 7-1 run midway through to go up, 23-12.

A kill by Carroll gave IVC set point at 24-13 and Carroll ended the set three points later on a cross-court kill.

But Golden West didn't go away.

The Rustlers pulled away late in a tight fourth set. A kill by Miguel Flores Jr. gave Golden West set point in the fourth set at 24-21.

And an Irvine Valley service error meant the match was going to a fifth set.

Irvine Valley came right back in the fifth set, storming out to a 10-4 lead.

Golden West made it 10-6 after a block by Conner Ludlum and Mitchell Fixa.

A kill by freshman middle blocker Grant Marocchi put the Lasers ahead, 12-7 and a kill by freshman outside hitter Demetre Gossett made it 13-8.

Golden West answered one more time, getting a block from Ludluym and Brandon Pank and a kill by Pank to get within 13-10.

But Gossett came through with a big kill to give Irvine Valley some breathing room at 14-10 and two points later freshman middle blocker Tristan Belsby completed the IVC win with a kill.

Irvine Valley got 18 kills from Carroll to lead the way. He hit .357 on the night and also added nine digs.

Marocchi had 15 kills in 19 attempts with no errors (.789 hitting percentage) and Holder added 14 kills for IVC.

Freshman setter Isaiah Powell finished with a season-high 65 assists.

Irvine Valley will finish the first round of conference play next Wednesday at Santiago Canyon at 6 p.m.

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