Women's Volleyball

Former IVC star Annie Mitchem back in Irvine for USA event

Former IVC star Annie Mitchem back in Irvine for USA event

The best women's volleyball player in Irvine Valley history will be back on campus Friday night in a U.S. National Team Red-Blue instraquad scrimmage on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Mitchem became Irvine Valley's first-ever state athlete of the year in 2015 after a star-studded two years at IVC.

She captured three CCCAA State Championships during the 2014-15 academic year.

Two of the state championships came with teams, and she also earned an individual state title.

The 6-3 sophomore middle blocker helped Irvine Valley win its first ever women's volleyball state title in 2014.

The team finished with a record of 27-0 and Mitchem was named the Orange Empire Conference MVP, All-American and all-state for the second year in a row along with being the State Tournament MVP.

IVC dropped just seven sets all season.

She also earned prestigious national recognition for the second straight year, being named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Two-Year College National Player of the Year once again.

In her three matches at the state tournament, she was dominant with 58 kills and 15 blocks in 11 sets, while making only five errors in 99 attempts (.535). Against Feather River she set a state tournament record for highest kill percentage at .826 (19 kills, 0 errors, 23 attempts).

She was a six-rotation, all-around playing middle blocker that led the nation in hitting percentage (.517). Mitchem was fourth in the state in blocks per set at 1.24, 10th in total kills with 358 and 13th in kills per set at 4.26.

She had double figure kills in 21 of 27 matches and also recorded eight matches with double figure digs.

"What I like the most is that she has been just so engaged in everything - personally, with her teammates and with her academics," Irvine Valley coach Tom Pestolesi said after the indoor state tournament in 2014. "It has been great to see how she has grown as a person and it has made her an even better volleyball player. Our entire coaching staff has been so very proud of her this year."

Mitchem then helped lead Irvine Valley's sand volleyball team to the inaugural CCCAA title in the spring of 2015

Irvine Valley went undefeated against community college competition and defeated Grossmont, Golden West and Cabrillo in the state tournament.

Mitchem also teamed with freshman Emily Reinking to win the No. 2 pairs state title.

"She's the best player I've seen ever at the community college level," Pestolesi said of Mitchem. "She can do everything."

In winning the AVCA Two-Year honor for the second straight year, she became just the second player to do so in the history of the award.

Fabiana Spisso de Abreu of Southern Idaho in 1998 and 1999 is the only other player to accomplish the feat.

Mitchem went on to star at the University of Hawaii for two seasons. 

She earned all-Big West Conference first team honors as a senior and played for the Rainbow Wahine as a middle hitter/outside hitter in 2015 and '16.

As a senior, Mitchem missed the first nine matches of the season due to an injury suffered on the first day of practice.

But after she returned to action, the 'Bows recorded an 18-2 overall record.

Her addition into the lineup proved to be a key to UH capturing the2016 Big West title.

She slid over from her customary middle hitter position to play on the leftside.

During her two-year UH career, she posted 249 kills, 91 total blocks and averaged 2.37 kills and 0.87 blocks per set in just 38 matches played.

Currently, Mitchem is playing professionally in Italy as a member of the Scandicci team in Italian Serie A1 league.

Last season, she played her first year of professional volleyball for Lardini Filotrano in the same serie A1 league.

The Red-Blue scrimmage will be used in the evaluation process on selecting Team USA's 14-player roster for the Pan American Cup that takes place July 8-14 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Tickets for the Red-Blue are $5 per person and available at the door starting at 6 p.m.

The Red-Blue will utilize the Pan American Cup 25-player preliminary roster with players switching colors throughout the match. The U.S. preliminary roster for the Pan Am Cup has three setters, four liberos, five opposites, six outside hitters and seven middles. Not all players are expected to dress for the Red-Blue.

  • Setters (3): Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), Kelly Hunter (Papillion, Nebraska), Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Liberos (4): Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona), Caroline Knop (Pasadena, California), Kristen Tupac (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California)
  • Opposites (5): Brittany Abercrombie (Carlsbad, California), Carly De Hoog (Ontario, California), Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California), Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama), Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey)
  • Outside Hitters (6): Adora Anae (Punaluu, Hawaii), Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona), Simone Lee (Menomonee, Wisconsin), Annie Mitchem (Friendswood, Texas), Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska), Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
  • Middles (7): Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa, Oklahoma), Molly McCage (Spring, Texas), Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas), Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota), Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota), Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Carly Wopat (Santa Barbara, California)


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