Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team has season end in playoff quarterfinals

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

Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team couldn't keep up with a spirited El Camino squad in a four-set loss that ended the Lasers' season in a CCCAA Championship Quarterfinal on Friday night at home.

El Camino, seeded seventh, upset No. 2 IVC, 25-21, 25-27, 25-21, 25-17.

The Lasers, who beat the Warriors at IVC in four sets in the middle of March, ended the season with a record of 15-4.

"They were just better than us tonight," IVC coach Tom Pestolesi said of El Camino. "I'm still proud of our guys. They have been awesome this year and I loved coaching them. It was a great group."

El Camino, which moves on to the semifinals of the state event next Thursday at LA Pierce College, improved its record to 11-7.

The Warriors jumped out to an early lead in the first set and then held on.

Irvine Valley answered back in the second set, taking a 15-9 lead on a kill by freshman outside hitter Patrick Furlong.

The Lasers later went up, 19-13, after an El Camino hitting error.

But the Warriors rallied, scoring six straight points. An ace by Jaden Misaalefua tied the score at 19.

The set was tied at 21, 22 and 23. IVC went ahead, 24-23, on a net violation by El Camino.

But a kill by Cesar Medina tied it again at 24-24.

And then a tip winner by Misaalefua gave the Warriors a 25-24 advantage.

Irvine Valley came back with the next three points, however.

Furlong had a kill to tie it at 25-25, Lopez knocked down a kill to give IVC set point and then a block by freshman middle blocker Matt August and freshman setter Austin McBain tied the sets up.

The third set might have been the difference in the match.

El Camino got up big, getting three straight kills by Christopher Phanngam to take a 18-11 lead.

Irvine Valley climbed back. Down, 20-14, the Lasers scored seven points in a row.

A kill by Lopez put IVC ahead, 21-20. He had four kills during the run.

But El Camino turned the tables on the Lasers and went on a 5-0 run of its own to end the set.

After an IVC hitting error gave El Camino set point at 24-21, Medina's tip winner closed out the comeback and gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead in sets.

It was all El Camino in the fourth set. The set was tied at 3-3 early on, but the Warriors went on an 8-3 run to take control.
The Warriors got up by as many as 11 points in the set at 20-9 and 22-11 before winning on an IVC serve into the net.

Irvine Valley hit a fine .337 as a team in the match, but El Camino was just better on the night. Sophomore outside hitter Ruben Lopez led the way with 18 kills for the Lasers. He hit .444 and added five digs.

Furlong had 15 kills and eight digs, August finished with 10 kills and seven blocks and hit .500. Evers ended with 14 digs and McBain had 46 assists for IVC.

Irvine Valley still had a fine season, finishing second in the tough Orange Empire Conference and being ranked in the top three in the state all season. The Lasers were ranked No. 1 in the state for seven straight weeks and finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the state.

The match was the final one as Lasers for sophomores Cody Hermanson, Evers and Lopez.

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