No. 5 Story of the Year - IVC Athletics 2021-22 Annual Awards

No. 5 Story of the Year - IVC Athletics 2021-22 Annual Awards

In leading up to the official start of the 2022-23 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 26 with the IVC women's soccer team playing at Southwestern at 5 p.m. and the Laser women's volleyball team hosting Canyons at 5 p.m., the Irvine Valley athletic department will count down the top 10 sports stories from the 2021-22 school year. 

The No. 5 story on the list for 2021-22 features Irvine Valley's athletes of the year along with other Laser department award winners. Orange Empire Conference women's basketball most valuable player Morgan Higgins was named the female athlete of the year and California Community College Athletic Association men's tennis singles and doubles champion Arthur Bellegy was selected IVC's male athlete of the year. The Lasers athletic department had several other deserving award winners.

Star Irvine Valley women's basketball player Morgan Higgins and state champion men's tennis player Arthur Bellegy were named the college's female and male athlete of the year, respectively.

Higgins, a sophomore point guard, helped lead Irvine Valley to its best season in program history. The Lasers ended with a record of 26-3 overall and reached the semifinals of the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships.

IVC fell in the semifinals to San Joaquin Delta, 77-74, in a game that went down to the wire at West Hills Lemoore in March.

Higgins had quite a year. At the end of the campaign, she was named first team, all-state by the California Community College Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

And the 5-7 guard was named the Orange Empire Conference most valuable player and the offensive player of the year after she helped lead to the Lasers to a perfect 12-0 OEC record.

The 2021-22 season featured Irvine Valley's fourth-straight conference title.

Higgins averaged 15.9 points with 3.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game overall on the year.

In conference play, Higgins averaged 20.1 points-per-game and had a 56.6 shooting percentage. She also averaged 4.1 assists and 3.5 steals in the OEC.

During the 2019-20 season, Higgins averaged 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game for the Lasers as they went 25-3 overall, won the conference with a record of 12-0 record and made the So. Cal. Regional final before losing at Ventura.

Higgins is headed to NAIA Westcliff University in Irvine.

Bellegy, who is headed to NCAA Division I San Diego State, also had a special season with the Lasers.

The freshman No. 1 singles and doubles player earned Orange Empire Conference player of the year honors after helping lead IVC to an OEC title and a trip to the So. Cal. Regional semifinals before falling to eventual state champion College of the Desert.

Bellegy followed up his conference top honors with even bigger accomplishments. He won both the California Community College Athletic Association singles and doubles championships.

He captured the singles title and later paired with IVC freshman Kiichi Ishida to take home the doubles crown on May 7 at Mt. San Antonio College. 

Bellegy wrapped up the singles title in straight sets earlier in the day with two straight wins and came back after a break and won two two more in a row with Ishida.

Both wins for Bellegy came against College of the Desert freshman Marco Alvarez, who teamed up with Raymundo Chavez in the doubles.

In the singles championship, it was number one versus number two, with top South seed Bellegy coming out the winner with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Bellegy dominated from the beginning and became the third singles champion from Irvine Valley since 2016.

In the doubles final, Bellegy and Ishida won came out on top in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Bellegy was selected as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association sophomore player of the year for community colleges in Region I this summer.

And there were many other deserving Irvine Valley student-athletes honored. The full list can be seen below.

Irvine Valley Athletes of the Year

Morgan Higgins, Women's Basketball; Arthur Bellegy, Men's Tennis

Exchange Club of Irvine Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Jessica Suruor, Women's Basketball; Garrett Hayes, Men's Soccer

Orange Empire Conference Character Champions

Katie Nguyen, Women's Basketball; Tyson Robinson, Men's Basketball

IVC Community Ambassadors

Kailey Earl, Women's Soccer; Casey Kudell, Baseball

IVC Scholar Team Award

Women's Beach Volleyball - 3.48 team GPA

Irvine Valley Andy Weekes Team of the Year

Women's Beach Volleyball (2022 State Champion)

IVC Coaches of the Year

Julie Hanks, Women's Basketball; Martin McGrogan, Men's Soccer

Athletics Alumnus of the Year 

Brian Ferrante, Baseball (Class of 2008)

Anna L. McFarlin Sport-For-All Service Award

Corey Rodgers, Dean of Enrollment Services

Dr. Silvie Grote, Professor of Public Health