Irvine Valley's men's soccer team ended its regular season with a strong performance on Thursday against Norco at home.
The 6-1 victory gave the Lasers hope of taking an Orange Empire Conference title.
But shortly after the win, IVC learned that Golden West defeated Orange Coast and captured the crown.
Irvine Valley finished two points behind Golden West in the standings. The Rustlers finished with 32 points and Irvine Valley, which won the conference title a year ago, ended with 30.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 14-4-3 overall and 9-2-3 in conference.
The good news for the Lasers is that they played well on Friday and it gives the squad some more positive momentum heading into the postseason.
The Southern California Regional Playoff brackets will be announced early next week.
Irvine Valley was ranked 14th in the CCCAA state poll this week. The Lasers were also sixth in that poll in Southern California.
"We feel pretty good about how we've played so far," IVC coach Martin McGrogan said. "I'm proud of the boys."
Irvine Valley scored four goals in the second half on Thursday to run away with the win over Norco.
The final three of those goals came from sophomore forward Sean Goode. He lifted his total on the season to a team-best 17 goals. It ranks him second in the conference and 11th in the state.
He finished just two goals behind Oscar Navarro of Santa Ana for the OEC lead.
"He's done really well for us this season," McGrogan said. "He's strong on the ball, quick and can finish."
Goode also had an assist Thursday, setting up Irvine Valley's first goal of the match in the 13th minute by sophomore forward Connor Elder.
Irvine Valley also got two goals and one assist from sophomore midfielder Juan Rivera. Rivera gave Irvine Valley a 2-0 lead with a hard shot that beat the Norco keeper in the 35th minute.
Norco cut Irvine Valley's lead to 2-1 when Enrique Arceo chipped a shot into the back of the net just before the end of the first half.
But Irvine Valley went up, 3-1, on a penalty kick make by Rivera about 15 minutes into the second half. Elder was taken down in the box for the penalty kick.
Rivera calmly drilled the shot into the lower left corner.
Then Goode picked up his hat trick to drive the win home. It was his third three-goal or more game this year.
"We created lots of chances again today," McGrogan said. "I thought we were a little complacent at times and Norco also had some opportunities. We were just able to capitalize on ours."
The two goals by Rivera gave him 11 on the season and the assist put him at 12. He ranks first in the conference and fourth in the state in assists.
Elder's early goal also gave him 11 on the year.
Irvine Valley finished with 56 goals in 21 matches through the regular season. It is just four goals off the total of what the Lasers had last year in 24 matches.
Freshman keeper Blake Sigler also earned another win Thursday. He made five saves on the day, including a diving one at point blank range in the second half.
Sigler ranks third in the conference with a 1.13 goals against average.