Women's Volleyball

Women's volleyball team punches ticket to state tournament

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

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team is headed back to the state tournament.

The top-seeded and undefeated Lasers earned a trip to next weekend's California Community College Athletic Association State Championship at Solano College with yet another sweep.

IVC defeated No. 8 seed Grossmont in three tough sets, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 at home on Saturday night.

It was Irvine Valley's second straight sweep in the playoffs and 20th three-set victory of the season.

Irvine Valley improved its record to 24-0 overall. Grossmont, which won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, finished its year with a record of 21-7 overall.

"I am really excited for our team," said IVC coach Tom Pestolesi, who led the Lasers to their first ever state title in 2014. "It is such a great group of girls and they really deserve it. The chemistry has been so good all year. And our staff is incredible. Every single one of them are special and provide amazing help."

Every set was close on Saturday, but IVC found a way in each one of them.

Irvine Valley used a 7-1 run, highlighted by two kills by sophomore outside hitter Olivia Aguilar, a block by Aguilar and freshman middle blocker Alma Entesari and a kill and an ace by sophomore setter Megan Ramseyer, to take a 16-8 lead in the opening set.

Grossmont climbed back within 19-16 on a block by Khalia Jordan and Alexcis Morris, but the Griffins didn't get closer than three points the rest of the way.

IVC moved to set point at 24-20 after a Grossmont hitting error. And two points later, a Grossmont serving error gave the first set to the Lasers.

The second set was tied early, but IVC used a four-point run to take the lead. An ace by Ramseyer and kill by Aguilar put Irvine Valley ahead, 11-7.

An ace by sophomore outside hitter Taira Ka'awaloa gave IVC a 17-13 advantage.

But Grossmont didn't go away and pulled 21-19 on back-to-back kills by Morris.

Ka'awaloa came back with a kill for Irvine Valley to make it 22-19.

A kill by Alexis Vanlandingham and a tip-winner by Jordan made it a 22-21 Irvine Valley lead and forced a Laser timeout.

But Ka'awaloa came up big again for the Lasers with another kill to make it 23-21. Grossmont again moved within a point at 23-22 on a kill by Vanlandingham.

Irvine Valley closed out the set with the next two points. Grossmont served in the net to give IVC set point. And an Aguilar stuff ended it.

The third set was tied 13-13, but IVC took the lead for good on a nice deep corner roll shot by Ka'awaloa.

And a doubles call on the set by Grossmont put Irvine Valley up, 15-13.

The teams traded points for most of the rest of the set. Grossmont got within 19-18 on a kill by Felicia Marshall, but a Ka'awaloa kill put IVC ahead, 20-18.

And then Irvine Valley took control. An ace by freshman defensive specialist Jade Parham made it 21-18 and a kill off the block by freshman outside hitter Alyssa Vortouni gave Irvine Valley a 22-18 lead.

After dropping a point, consecutive kills by Ka'awaloa and Ramseyer moved Irvine Valley to match point at 24-19.

And the Lasers took the contest after Grossmont couldn't get the ball over on three.

Ka'awaloa and Ramseyer were the stars for Irvine Valley. Ka'awaloa finished with 17 kills, hit .361 and had eight digs.

"T (Ka'awaloa) was just a stud for us tonight," Pestolesi said. "She showed up to play."

Ramseyer had three kills, seven digs and two aces to go along with her 33 assists.

Aguilar ended with 11 kills and six digs, Vortouni had five kills and sophomore libero Gabi Lau contributed 12 digs.

"We might not be the biggest team, but we have really good volleyball players and they all showed their skills tonight," Pestolesi said. "They all stepped up like they have done all year long."

Grossmont was paced by Morris, who finished with nine kills and five blocks.

IVC moves on to the eight-team State Championship, which begins next Saturday in Fairfield at Solano College. It is a single-eliminating, two-day event. Four first-round matches will be played Saturday, Dec. 2 with the semifinals later in the evening on Saturday.

The championship match is on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.

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