Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team lost its first match in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play, falling to defending state champion Golden West, 25-23, 20-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-12, at Golden West on Wednesday night.
The defeat dropped Irvine Valley's record to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in conference.
With Orange Coast's loss in five sets at Grossmont on Wednesday, Irvine Valley, Orange Coast and Grossmont are all tied for first place.
Golden West bounced back from getting swept at Grossmont in its previous match to improve its record to 6-6 overall and 2-3 in conference with the win over IVC.
The Lasers led by as many as six points in the opening set, but Golden West rallied to tie the set at 17-17 and 20-20, before an Irvine Valley hitting error later gave the Rustlers the set.
Irvine Valley owned the second set keeping its leads intact throughout.
Set three was close the entire way with Golden West leading by a small margin until the Lasers tied it at 20.
It was back-and-forth after that, but the Lasers won the set to go up in sets, 2-1.
The Lasers had their chances to end things in the fourth set. The set was tied at 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25. Golden West won the final two points.
Irvine Valley had the edge in the fifth set, leading 8-6 at the change. The Rustlers tied the set at 12-12 and IVC didn't score again.
The Lasers were led by freshman middle blocker Kevin Vaz, who had 16 kills and 10 blocks. Freshman outside hitter AJ Hammer added 14 kills, freshman outside hitter Josh Schmidt had 11 kills and freshman opposite Davis Cannon and freshman outside hitter Cole Murray each ended with 10 kills.
Jared Chase had 17 kills and Jarrett Neal had 19 digs to lead Golden West.
Irvine Valley plays again on Friday. It hosts Orange Coast at 6 p.m. in its Dig Pink Match with money raised going to the Side-Out Foundation for cancer awareness.