Women's Volleyball

Women's volleyball team pulls off playoff upset on the road

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

Freshman outside hitter Taira Ka'awaloa and sophomore opposite Juju Cannon combined for 35 kills on Tuesday night, leading No. 14 Irvine Valley to a 3-2 women's volleyball upset of No. 3 Santa Barbara City in the first round of the Southern Cal Regional Playoffs in Santa Barbara.

Irvine Valley came out on top, 25-20, 20-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-12 in the 2 hour, 23-minute marathon.

The Lasers, the fourth-place team from the Orange Empire Conference, won their fourth straight match to improve their record to 15-6 while the WSC North champion Vaqueros had their 11-match win streak snapped and finished the year at 23-4.

It was the first home loss in nine matches for the Vaqueros this season.

Ka'awaloa had 18 kills and 22 digs and Cannon pounded 17 kills, including the final blow when she ripped an overpass for a kill on match point.

Sophomore middle blocker Kylie Miller added 13 kills, sophomore outside hitter Lucee Fitzgerald had 11 kills and 34 digs, freshman right side Diamonique Brogan finished with 10 kills, sophomore setter Alissa Blevins had 33 assists and sophomore libero Taylor Askins contributed 36 digs.

Shannon Friend led the Vaqueros with 17 kills. Carolyn Andrulis had 14 kills and a season-high 26 digs. Claire Bagdasar added 26 digs and setter Kiana Pisula finished with seven kills, 44 assists and 21 digs.

There were five ties in the early stages of the fifth and deciding set, then Blevins went on a 6-0 serving run for the Lasers. Blevins started it with an ace and Miller re-directed an overpass to the front left corner to give the Lasers an 11-5 advantage.

SBCC rallied back and got within 11-9 on Hannah Cantrell's second straight ace serve. The Vaqueros cut it to one at 13-12 when Kaylene Ureno drilled a kill to the back line.

Fitzgerald hit one off the block for the 14th point and Cannon ended it by slamming the overpass off a serve by freshman setter Savanah Schroeder.

The Lasers led for most of the first set, building leads of 14-10 and 20-14. The Vaqueros went on a 9-3 run in the second set and took a 17-11 advantage on a kill by Pisula after a spectacular dig by Bagdasar. Andrulis capped the 25-20 win with a kill through the block.

The third set was tight throughout with the Vaqueros taking a 20-17 lead on a wide hit by the Lasers. SBCC got to set point at 24-20 on a quick hit by Cantrell, but the Lasers fought off three set points to tie it at 24.

Cantrell tooled a ball off the block and IVC drilled a long spike to give the Vaqueros the 26-24 win and a 2-1 match lead.

After hitting a season-best .528 in last Wednesday's 3-0 win over Hancock, the Vaquero were held to a .158 percentage on Tuesday night, their third-lowest of the year.

IVC broke open a tight fourth set with an 8-1 run that gave the Lasers an 18-13 lead. The Vaqueros got within two (19-17) on a solo block by Pisula but Irvine responded with a kill by Miller, an ace from freshman outside hitter Adrienne Graycochea and a kill by Brogan Diamonique to regain the upper hand at 22-17.

Irvine Valley now moves on to the second round of the regional on Saturday. The Lasers will play at No. 6 El Camino.

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