Women's Volleyball

Women's volleyball team, new coach pick up first win of season

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

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team had a new head coach on the sideline Wednesday night in its 2016 opening match.

The results for the Lasers continued to be impressive.

Irvine Valley has won the last three Orange Empire Conference titles in a row and gone 67-8 over that time, including 27-0 in 2014 when the Lasers captured the program's first state title under long-time head coach Tom Pestolesi.

Nate Ngo took over as the squad's interim head coach this season as Pestolesi is on a sabbatical leave during the fall.

Ngo was an assistant coach for IVC's squad that went 16-6 last season and won the OEC title.

And Irvine Valley played solid Wednesday for Ngo, who recently arrived back from the Rio Olympics after being a part of the USA men's volleyball staff. The U.S. men's squad captured bronze.

The Lasers swept Antelope Valley, 25-14, 25-15, 25-13.

"It wasn't a bad start at all," Ngo said. "I thought we did a pretty good job with the systems we implemented in practice this past week. We made pretty good choices all night.

"I also thought our serving was good. There is still room for improvement, but overall I am encouraged by what I saw and am excited to move forward."

Irvine Valley raced out to a 12-4 lead in the first set after two early kills and a block by sophomore opposite Juju Cannon and back-to-back kills by sophomore outside hitter Lucee Fitzgerald.

Consecutive kills by freshman outside hitter Taira Ka'awaloa put the Lasers in front, 16-10, and IVC later went ahead, 21-12 after a kill by Cannon and an ace by Ka'awaloa.

An ace by sophomore libero Taylor Askins gave Irvine Valley set point at 24-14 and Cannon ended the set on the next point with a kill.

Irvine Valley broke open the second set early. Up, 5-3, the Lasers went on a 5-1 run to go up, 10-4. Cannon had two kills and freshman middle blocker Kylie Miller added two kills during the run.

A kill and then a tip winner by Miller gave Irvine Valley an 18-10 lead and then two kills by Fitzgerald made it 20-10.

Miller added two more kills late in the set with the second one giving IVC set point. Ka'awaloa closed the set with a kill.

Antelope Valley got out to a 3-1 lead in the third and final set and the Marauders were later up, 8-5.

But Irvine Valley scored five points in a row to take the lead for good. Sophomore Hailey Riden had two kills and sophomore middle blocker Kayla Shields added an ace.

An ace by sophomore setter Alissa Blevins put IVC ahead, 15-9, and an ace by Ka'awaloa and then a block by freshman opposite Hannah Holder gave Irvine Valley a 20-10 advantage.

A kill by freshman right side Diamonique Brogan gave Irvine Valley match point and a hitting error by Antelope Valley ended things.

The Lasers got 10 kills from Fitzgerald, nine kills from Ka'awaloa and six kills each from Cannon and Miller. Cannon also contributed three blocks, Askins had nine digs and Blevins finished with 35 assists. IVC also had 11 aces as a team with Ka'awaloa and Blevins each recording four.

Irvine Valley plays again next Wednesday, traveling to Canyons for a 5 p.m. match.

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