No. 4 Story of the Year - Women's volleyball shines again

No. 4 Story of the Year - Women's volleyball shines again

In leading up to the official start of the 2019-20 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 27 with the IVC men's soccer team hosting Rio Hondo and the Laser women's soccer team playing at San Diego Mesa, the Irvine Valley athletic department will count down the top 10 sports stories from the 2018-19 school year. 

The No. 4 story on the list is the tremendous season that the Irvine Valley women's indoor volleyball team turned in. But that has become a regular fall thing for the Lasers. Irvine Valley had a record of 21-2, won 18 straight matches to start the season and made another trip to the CCCAA State Championship event. Sophomore libero Renata Bath was named co-MVP of the Orange Empire Conference and went on to be named all-state and All-American and freshman Lea Kruse earned co-MVP honors of the conference. Coach Tom Pestolesi guided his squad to another special season.

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team had another spectacular season in 2018.

A year after going 27-0 and winning the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship in '17, the Lasers finished with a 21-2 record, won an Orange Empire Conference title and made another state tournament appearance in 2018.

The Lasers won their first 18 matches of the year and cruised in so many of the contests. The first nine victories were three-set sweeps. And 19 of the team's 21 victories happened with sweeps.

IVC swept Pasadena City and Ventura in its first two matches of the regional playoffs to advance to the state event.

Irvine Valley featured a deep and talented roster led by freshman outside hitter Lea Kruse, sophomore libero Renata Bath, freshman setter Truth Hafey, sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Vortouni, freshman outside hitter Alaina Gendale, sophomore middle blockers Kylie Miller and Jacqueline Wolfe and freshman middle blocker Kristin Austin.

Kruse and Bath were the co-MVP's of the Orange Empire Conference with Hafey and Vortouni being named first team all-conference and Miller and Austin picked second team.

Bath was also picked as all-state and second team All-American for the season and Pestolesi was chosen as the OEC's coach of the year. Bath ended up signing to play at Division I UC Riverside.

Irvine Valley opened the CCCAA State championship last December with a sweep North No. 4 West Valley, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22, in the first of four quarterfinals at Solano College in Fairfield.

Kruse had 16 kills to lead the way for Irvine Valley. Freshman outside hitter Alaina Gendale had nine kills, Vortouni had seven kills and Wolfe nailed six kills. Miller added four blocks.

But IVC was knocked out of the tournament in the semifinals. American River College ended No. 1-ranked Irvine Valley's season in four sets, 24-26, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23.