In leading up to the start of the 2017-18 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 25 with the men's soccer team hosting Rio Hondo and the women's volleyball team hosting Citrus, the Laser athletic department will count down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2016-17 school year.
The No. 2 story was the Irvine Valley men's tennis team winning its third CCCAA State Dual Team Championship at the Pierpont Racquet Club in Ventura in April.
Irvine Valley followed a similar path against the same opponent in the title match.
The Lasers took a 2-1 lead in doubles, then won the Nos. 5, 1 and 4 singles to secure their third straight state title with a 5-1 win over American River. It was a rematch of last year's state final between the two No. 1 seeds and the score was the same.
Irvine Valley (19-0) completed an undefeated season for the first time in school history. The Lasers have won 35 straight matches and are 58-3 in the last three years with all three losses coming to four-year schools. It was their fourth straight appearance in the California state final and now they are 3-1.
Irvine Valley became the second straight men's team to win three straight State titles, following in the footsteps of Fresno City in 2012-14. College of the Desert holds the all-time record with six straight State titles from 1998-2003.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Irvine Valley's Wyatt DeMulling, a freshman from Highline High in Washington state. "This whole entire year, we've become so much closer. We're more than a team, we're a family and this is just unbelievable.
"In doubles (with fellow freshman Chris Politiek), we've had an incredible season. When we first started, we didn't click very well but then Ross (coach Ross Duncan) kept putting us together and having us do a lot drills to help us with poaching. We went undefeated in doubles and that was awesome."
The team of DeMulling and Politiek won its No. 2 doubles set 8-3 over Andy Vang/Justin Barton, just one minute after freshman Leszek Mirecki and sophomore Gavin Lynch secured an 8-3 win in the No. 3 doubles.
The Lasers won the first set in the first five singles with defending State singles champ sophomore Javier Callejo having the toughest time, outlasting Michael Vizcarra 7-6 (4).
Freshman Ardi Safi finished off Eric De Romas 6-2, 6-1 for a 3-1 IVC lead at 3:26 p.m. DeMulling completed a 6-1, 6-1 victory by breaking Cody Duong's serve at 40-15 on a strong backhand to the right corner that Duong returned wide left.
"This was by far, the best match I've played all season," said DeMulling. "I've played against Maximilien Blancaneaux from Cypress in conference and I played well in those matches but this was my best. I was in control most of the match. I lost my serve twice and I tensed up the second time because I had a couple of match points."
Two minutes later, Politiek, a left-handed freshman from the Netherlands, secured Irvine Valley's fifth point with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Neville Cooper.
IVC sophomore No. 2 player Lucas Leseouer was serving with match point when Politiek clinched it.
Cody Duong and Tam Duong got the lone point for American River (17-2) with an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles. American River was the No. 1 Northern Cal seed from Sacramento.
"It feels great," said IVC coach Ross Duncan. "Nothing can be taken for granted and we have to fight in every match. Fortunately things went our way.
"There's ups and downs in every season but we were able to fight through when things were down and compete together. Our big keys are team spirit and camaraderie."
The Lasers started the playoffs with a 5-0 win over conference rival Saddleback and then beat another conference foe, Cypress, 5-2, in the regional final to make the state championship match.