A big rally in the third set was the difference for the Irvine Valley women's volleyball team in a 3-1 victory over Golden West in a key Orange Empire Conference match on Wednesday night at IVC.
Irvine Valley came back from being down,15-7, in the third set to take it and went on to a 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17 win.
Both teams had captured their conference openers last Friday and were ranked in the state.
Golden West was ranked No. 22 and IVC, which is the defending state champion, was ranked 16th.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in conference, while Golden West slipped to 5-5 overall and 1-1 in conference.
"Our effort turned around in that third set and that was the difference," Irvine Valley coach Tom Pestolesi said. "That is all it was. We started playing harder, digging balls and hustling more."
The two teams split the first two sets with Golden West capturing the second set and the momentum. The Rustlers raced out to the 15-7 lead in the third set.
But Irvine Valley won four points in a row, capped by a block by freshman middle blocker Hailey Riden to get back in it at 15-11.
Down, 16-12, Irvine Valley then made its move, reeling off seven straight points to take an 18-16 lead.
Riden had three kills and a block during that stretch.
But Golden West didn't go away. IVC never trailed again in the set, but the score was tied at 19, 20, 21 and 22.
The Lasers put the set away by scoring the final three points. Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Scheevel had a kill, sophomore outside hitter Hannah Matt and Riden combined for a block and then Riden ended the set with a kill.
Irvine Valley pulled away midway through the fourth set to capture the match. Tied, 15-15, IVC scored four straight points, getting two kills from Riden and two combo blocks for points by Riden and Matt, to take control.
A kill by freshman middle blocker Brittany Tuliau gave Irvine Valley a 22-16 lead. The Lasers closed it out four points later.
Back-to-back hitting errors by Golden West finished off the match.
Scheevel and Matt led Irvine Valley with 16 kills apiece. Scheevel also contributed 19 digs, while Matt had five blocks.
Riden finished with 12 kills, five blocks and hit .632. Freshman Kayla Shields added six kills and four blocks and hit .385. Sophomore libero Emily Reinking chipped in 11 digs and sophomore setter Jenna Olbright had 56 assists and eight digs.
"This puts is in a real good spot early on in conference," Pestolesi said. "We still have a lot of work to do and need to get better, but we are making strides."