by IVC Sports Information
Irvine Valley's women's beach volleyball team is back in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship and will try to defend its title.
The Lasers defeated Bakersfield, 5-0, and MiraCosta, 4-1, in a playoff regional on Tuesday at Irvine Valley to advance.
They will join Golden West, Grossmont and Cabrillo in the four-team state final on Friday at Grossmont College in El Cajon.
It is the same four teams that were in last year's inaugural state championship event at IVC.
"We are back where we want to be with a shot at it," Irvine Valley coach Tom Pestolesi said. "We were so overpowering on our way to the title last year. This year we are not overpowering, but still really good. The development has been there throughout the year. And the coaches made some decisions on switching partners as we got deeper into the season. It was for the good of the group and they all have bought in."
Irvine Valley started Tuesday with straight set wins from all five of its pairs against Bakersfield.
IVC's No. 3 pair of sophomore Kayla Scheevel and freshman Olivia Aguilar came out on top, 21-17, 21-9. The No. 4 pair of freshman Alyssa Blevins and sophomore Juju Cannon won, 21-14, 21-9. An the No. 5 team of sophomores Taylor Askins and Rachael Woods won, 21-11, 21-18.
MiraCosta then also beat Bakersfield, 5-0, to set up a showdown between Irvine Valley and the Spartans.
Irvine Valley got off to an early lead with a win from its No. 3 pair of Scheevel and Aguilar. The duo defeated MiraCosta's Shaina Lilly and Madeleine Alper, 21-15, 21-16.
IVC then got a big triumph from its No. 4 pair. Blevins and Cannon rallied back to win, 9-21, 21-19, 15-13 over MiraCosta's Roni Long and Madeline Sims.
Blevins and Cannon trailed, 12-8, and then, 13-10, in the third game, but scored the final five points for the victory to give Irvine Valley a 2-0 overall lead in matches.
MiraCosta's No. 5 pair of Mailia Sellers and Cady Delay came back to win, 12-21, 30-28, 15-10 over IVC's Askins and Woods to tie the match
Earnest and Reinking, the Orange Empire Conference champions, then defeated Brianna Sizemore and Cady Francis, the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champs, 21-13, 21-17, at No. 1
Matt and Roethlisberger closed out the 4-1 victory for the Lasers with a 21-17, 21-19 over the Spartan pair of Breanna Kirklen and Kyra Henderson.
"I am really happy for all of them," Pestolesi said of his team moving on to state. "They are all great kids and all get along. Our volleyball program whether it is indoor or beach is very comfortable and unselfish. It is really a family like setting. It doesn't get much better."
photo courtesy of On My Game Photography