Women's Volleyball

Women's volleyball team shines in showdown with Cypress

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

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team played its best match of the season in one of its biggest contests so far.

The Lasers swept defending Orange Empire Conference champion Cypress in a showdown of two highly-ranked teams in the state.

Irvine Valley, ranked No. 2 in the state and first in Southern California, defeated the 13th-ranked in the state Chargers, 25-12, 25-11, 25-14, in a conference opener at home.

The win kept IVC unbeaten on the year at 7-0, while Cypress dropped to 5-3. It was Irvine Valley's sixth sweep of the season and fourth in a row.

"I thought we served really well and put a lot of pressure on them," IVC coach Tom Pestolesi said. "The kids are doing a really nice job in practice with our concentration skills, which is all serving and passing. We showed that tonight. We also just have a lot of really good volleyball players. We might not be the most physically intimidating team, but every single player can make a play whenever we need it anywhere on the court."

The match was close early. The two squads were tied, 6-6, in the opening set, but Irvine Valley scored five straight points to take control.

Irvine Valley ended up winning 19 of the final 25 points in the set to take it.

Two straight kills by freshman outside hitter Alyssa Vortouni put IVC ahead, 24-12, and then a serve winner by the Lasers ended things.

Irvine Valley jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set and never looked back. Soon IVC's lead was 10-2 and then 19-5.

A kill by sophomore outside hitter Olivia Aguilar put Irvine Valley up, 20-6, and a kill by sophomore opposite Diamond Brogan made it 21-6.

Cypress got to within 23-11 on a tip winner by Brianna Johnson and an ace by Lei Saleapaga.

But Irvine Valley won the next two points to take a two-set lead.

Sophomore outside hitter Taira Ka'awaloa had a kill and Ka'awaloa and freshman middle blocker Alma Entesari combined for a block to finish the set.

Irvine Valley got out to another big lead in the third set, going up, 7-1.

But Cypress battled back and later pulled within 16-13 on a kill by Kyra Sims.

Irvine Valley used another sudden run, this time a 9-1 spurt, to put the set out of reach.

The run started with the Lasers scoring six straight points, capped by a nice roll shot by Ka'awaloa to give IVC a 19-13 advantage.

IVC also won the final six points of the contest, getting two aces and a kill from Ka'awaloa and two kills by Aguilar for the win.

"Taira was really good again tonight and Olive stepped up big when we needed her and I thought (setter) Megan Ramseyer did a wonderful job of getting our hitters where they needed the ball no matter where she is on the court. She has just been fantastic for us."

Ramseyer helped Irvine Valley hit an impressive .471 on the night. She finished with 33 assists and three digs.

Ka'awaloa hit .423 with 15 kills, 11 digs, two blocks and two aces and Aguilar hit .667 with 13 kills, eight digs, two blocks and three aces.

Vortouni chipped in seven kills and hit .500 with three blocks, Entesari had five blocks and sophomore libero Gabi Lau contributed 13 digs.

Irvine Valley will play again next Wednesday at Riverside at 6 p.m. The Lasers then host Saddleback next Friday.

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