The Irvine Valley women's volleyball team has not only taken control of the race for the Orange Empire Conference title through the first two months of the season, the Lasers have become one of the favorites to win the state title this year.
Irvine Valley, which has been ranked No. 1 in the state for three straight weeks, is the only remaining unbeaten team in the state.
With its sweep of Orange Coast last Friday night at home to wrap up the first round of conference action, Irvine Valley improved its record to 14-0 overall and 8-0 in conference.
IVC has swept 12 of its 14 opponents and dropped just three sets all season (two to Saddleback and one to Canyons).
Ramseyer ranks second in the state and first in conference in assists per set at 11.00. Aguilar is fourth in the state and first in conference in kills per set at 4.51 and Ka'awaloa ranks eighth in the state and second in the OEC in kills per set at 4.27.
IVC leads the state in kills per set as a team at 13.53 and the Lasers are also second in the state in hitting percentage at .346.
Several teams are battling for second place in the conference standings with Cypress and Saddleback tied for second with records of 6-2 and Orange Coast and Golden West tied for fourth at 5-3.
Cypress has come on strong. The Chargers have won five matches in a row, including sweeping at both Golden West and Santa Ana last week.
The Chargers, who are ranked No. 17 in the state and 11th in Southern California, improved their record to 11-4 overall with a 26-24, 25-15, 25-11 win at Santa Ana last Friday night.
Middle Blocker Brianna Johnson leads the way. She is fourth in the conference in kills per set at 3.17, third in hitting percentage at .355 and fourth in blocks per set at 0.85. Kyra Sims and Khamis Berneker have also been forces at the net. Sims ranks fourth in OEC in blocks per set at 0.79 and is eighth in kills at 2.81 per set, while Berneker is ninth in kills at 2.66.
Setter Taylor Togia ranks second in the conference in assists per set at 7.82 for the Chargers.
Saddleback, which is ranked No. 14 in the state and eighth in Southern California, is having another solid campaign. The Gauchos only two losses in conference have come to Irvine Valley and Cypress.
The Gauchos, who have a record of 13-6 overall, won both of their matches last week. They swept both Riverside and Golden West at home.
Outside hitter Mandy Sides led the way with 12 kills for Saddleback in the 25-22, 25-22, 25-18 win over Golden West.
Saddleback has received contributions from a number of players in its attack with Kendall Nolan averaging 2.34 kills per set, Sides averaging 2.30 and Natalee Gray averaging 2.00.
Orange Coast and Golden West are still in the mix for one of the top spots in the conference standings.
Orange Coast has a record of 13-4 overall and is ranked No. 25 in the state and 14th in Southern California.
The Pirates are paced on offense by Hannah Del Barto, who averages 2.43 kills per set, and on defense by Rylee Adair, who leads the conference in digs per set at 5.30.
Golden West, which sits just one spot out of the top 25 rankings in the state, has a record of 8-9 overall. But five of the team's wins have come in the OEC.
Keilani Pearson ranks sixth in the conference in kills per set at 2.96 and Ashleigh Atsaros is tops in the conference in hitting percentage at .403 with teammate Eden VanWaardenburg second at .361. VanWaardenburg also ranks second in the conference in blocks per set at 0.89 and Kayelyn Nunuz is fourth in the conference in digs per set at 3.91.
Fullerton behind Kaylyn Johnson (first in the OEC in blocks per set) and Kailyn Case, Riverside with Marcella Rodriguez and Natalie Escher (second in the OEC in digs per set), Santa Ana behind Mikelle Taylor (third in the OEC in kills per set) and Kayla Long (third in digs per set), and Santiago Canyon with Riley Hausner (fifth in the conference in kills per set) and Jessica Rezner are trying to get back in the hunt in conference.
The Hornets have a record of 6-8 overall and are 3-5 in conference, Riverside is 7-9 overall and 2-6 in conference, Santa Ana has a record of 8-9 overall and 1-7 in conference and Santiago Canyon is 3-11 overall and looking for its first win this season in the OEC at 0-8.