Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team on to final four with sweep of El Camino

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

Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team is back in the final four of the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship for the first time since 2014 after sweeping aside El Camino in a quarterfinal match on Friday night at home.

The third-seeded Lasers defeated No. 6 El Camino, 25-19, 25-23, 25-19, in one of their best matches of the season.

The win was also IVC's first home playoff victory since 2008.

The Lasers were ready to play from the start, jumping out to a 10-7 lead in the opening set. The Lasers later went up, 15-9, before El Camino clawed back within 16-15.

But it was all Irvine Valley the rest of the set. The Lasers scored the next four points. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Brennan To gave IVC a 20-15 lead.

El Camino didn't get closer than four points the rest of the set.

A block by sophomore outside hitter Patrick Furlong got Irvine Valley to set point at 24-18 and then two points later Furlong ended the set with a kill.

The Lasers looked like they might run away with the second set, taking a 16-9 lead and later going up, 18-12.

But El Camino scored five consecutive points and made it 18-17 on a block by Connor Payne.

Irvine Valley answered with four points of its own to take a 22-17 advantage.

And the Lasers led, 23-20 after a kill by To.

But El Camino tied the score at 23 after a winner by Noah Carroll and back-to-back kills by Matthew Donatucci.

Furlong got Irvine Valley within a point of the set with a kill and To served an ace on the next point to end the set and give the Lasers a 2-0 lead.

El Camino led, 11-10, in the third set, but Irvine Valley played its best volleyball of the night, scoring an incredible 11 points in a row. Freshman outside hitter Sean Carroll had four kills during the run, sophomore middle blocker Matt August added two blocks and Furlong contributed an ace.

A  block by August on Cruz Padilla gave Irvine Valley a 21-11 lead.

El Camino pulled within 23-17 on a kill by Carroll, but Furlong came through with a kill to make it 24-17 and three points later Furlong sent the Lasers on to the semifinals at Fullerton College next Thursday with a kill off the block.

Irvine Valley improved its record to 16-5 overall, while El Camino ended its season at 10-7.

IVC got a well-balanced effort on the night. Furlong had nine kills, Carroll added eight kills and seven blocks, August had seven kills and 12 blocks and To and freshman outside hitter Trent Williams each contributed six kills. To also finished with six digs and freshman libero Kelsey Yogi had seven digs. Sophomore setter Austin McBain ended with 34 assists.

Irvine Valley moved on to face rival and No. 2 seed Orange Coast at Fullerton in the semifinals next Thursday at 7 p.m. The Lasers dropped matches to the Pirates both times this season, but last week's match went a thrilling five sets.

Top-seeded Long Beach City will face No. 4 LA Pierce in the other semifinal.

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