Irvine Valley's women's soccer team kept its unbeaten streak for 2013 alive Tuesday afternoon.
The squad's win was the most important of the season so far.
IVC opened Orange Empire Conference play with a 2-1 victory over Fullerton at home.
The win was the team's first in conference play since the final match of 2011 season when it defeated Saddleback, 1-0.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 4-0-1 on the year.
"Overall it was a good effort," IVC Coach Joe Supe said. "It is definitely a great start to conference, but I think we still have a lot to improve on."
The Lasers controlled play for much of the first half, but the second half was different story.
Santana just missed a goal in the 15th minute when she clipped a shot over the top of the goal from close range after a cross by sophomore defender Kelly Cox.
Irvine Valley out-shot Fullerton, 9-3, in the opening half.
But Fullerton (0-5-0) pressed forward in the second half with more aggression.
In the 53rd minute, after IVC lost the ball in the defensive end, Hornet midfielder Rebecca De Iorio one-timed a shot past Duffy to tie the score at 1-1.
Fullerton followed with a couple of more chances, including a shot by Ariana Fleischman that went just wide.
Irvine Valley pulled ahead in the 76th minute when Hart took the ball down the right side, beat a defender and then lofted a shot from a tough angle toward the far post that banged off the post and went in.
Freshman defender Zuleyka Ruiz was credited with the assist.
Fullerton's Fleischman nearly tied the score in the 87th minute. She got past the IVC defense, but her shot sailed just over the top of the bar. A minute later, Jessica Lee sent a high shot from outside that Duffy had to leap high for to make the save.
"It got a little uncomfortable there at the end," Supe said. "I think we got a little sloppy. We weren't pressing hard enough or defending correctly. We lost a little focus. Hopefully this is a good learning experience for us."
Irvine Valley has a bye on Friday and plays again in conference action next Tuesday at home against Golden West at 3 p.m.