In leading up to the start of the 2016-17 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 26 with women's soccer hosting a match, the Laser athletic department will count down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2015-16 school year.
The No. 4 story on the list is of the Irvine Valley women's beach volleyball team finishing as the runner-up at the CCCAA State Championships at Grossmont College in early May. Irvine Valley battled throughout the nearly 10-hour day on the final day of competition. The Lasers came up just short of defending their title. In a rematch of last year's top two finishers, Grossmont defeated Irvine Valley, 3-1, in the final match of the day. Irvine Valley still finished with a record of 13-7 on the year and won its second Orange Empire Conference title in a row along with taking a regional title.
Irvine Valley battled throughout the nearly 10-hour day at the California Community College Athletics Association Women's Beach Volleyball State Championship at Grossmont.
But the Lasers came up just short of defending their title.
In a rematch of last year's top two finishers, Grossmont defeated Irvine Valley, 3-1, in the final match of the day to claim its first beach state championship.
But Grossmont got wins from its No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 teams to earn the title.
The event included regional winners Grossmont, Irvine Valley, Golden West and Cabrillo.
In the first round of action everyone seemed to be battling the elements as a steady rain continued to fall from warm-ups through the first handful of matches.
Each team was 1-1 after four matches with neither winning team being decided until the top-pairings hit the court. Irvine Valley went the distance to defeat Cabrillo, 3-2, while Grossmont took down Golden West, 3-2, as well. Half the matches went to the third set including three straight matches midday.
Round two was a complete 180 as nine of the 10 matches were 2-0 sweeps with all but one victory going to Irvine Valley or Grossmont. Irvine Valley defeated Golden West, 5-0.
The lone exception was the round's final match with Cabrillo's top pairing defeating Grossmont's top pairing by identical sets of 21-19.
The deciding third round began with a match win for Irvine Valley in the No. 5 pairing before Grossmont won three straight.
Grossmont's teams of Katie Rademacher and Alejandra Puga, Megan Angerstein and Callie Guasti, and Tiffany Cobain and Hannah Doonan went a combined 5-1 over the day. The only undefeated team on the day was Irvine Valley's top pairing of sophomores Emily Reinking and Hailee Earnest.
Irvine Valley got back into the state championship event by defeating Bakersfield, 5-0, and MiraCosta, 4-1, in a playoff regional at Irvine Valley.
"We are back where we want to be with a shot at it," Irvine Valley coach Tom Pestolesi said. "We were so overpowering on our way to the title last year. This year we are not overpowering, but still really good. The development has been there throughout the year. And the coaches made some decisions on switching partners as we got deeper into the season. It was for the good of the group and they all have bought in."
And IVC captured its second straight conference title at Golden West.
It was the fifth straight conference title for the Lasers going back to 2012.
IVC played as a club team during the first three years of the program. Beach volleyball has been a sanctioned California Community College Athletic Association sport the past two years.
Irvine Valley clinched this year's OEC title with a 4-1 win over Golden West.
Both teams were undefeated in conference play heading into the match.
IVC got wins from its second through fifth pairs teams.
Irvine Valley defeated Riverside, 5-0, to end up undefeated in conference action.
Irvine Valley got straight-set victories from the teams Earnest and Reinking, Roethlisberger and Matt, Sheevel and Aguilar and Cannon and Blevins.
Earnest and Reinking won, 21-17, 21-7, on the No. 1 court.
Irvine Valley's No. 5 team of Askins and Tuliau won in three sets, 21-6, 21-23, 15-12.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 9-6 overall and 7-0 in conference.
At the end of the season, after winning the pairs Orange Empire Conference title and then the pairs CCCA State Title, Earnest and Reinking were named the OEC team of the year.
Pestolesi was named as the Orange Empire Conference's coach of the year.
And the teams of Matt and Roethlisberger and Scheevel and Aguilar were each named first team all-conference in beach.
Scheevel was also picked the OEC MVP last fall for indoor volleyball and Matt and Aguilar were all-conference players.
IVC's team Cannon and Blevins were selected all-conference second team in beach.