Women's Beach Volleyball

Women's sand volleyball finishes second in first state championship event

Women's sand volleyball finishes second in first state championship event

Irvine Valley's women's sand volleyball ended its season last Friday by finishing second in the inaugural Intercollegiate Sand Volleyball Conference State Championship.

The all-day tournament, which was held at Irvine Valley, featured Fullerton, Riverside, Golden West and Irvine Valley.

There was also a guest appearance by one of the greatest volleyball players of all-time and a beach/sand legend, Karch Kiraly.

Kiraly, who is the only volleyball player to win Olympic gold medals in both the indoor and beach versions of the sport, is currently an assistant for the USA Women's National Indoor Team.

Golden West edged Irvine Valley for the title, winning 13 matches on the day to Irvine Valley's 12. Matches were contested by doubles teams.

On a picture-perfect day at IVC, the event title came down to the final match of the day with Golden West's No. 2 team defeating IVC's No. 2 squad in three sets.

"It was a special event," Irvine Valley Coach and tournament director Tom Pestolesi said. "I have to thank our Dean (Keith Shackleford) for giving us the resources and being such a big supporter of this.

"And kudos to all of the coaches who gave a lot of their time to their programs to get this off the ground."

The Irvine Valley team featured players Allison Cook, Becky Moody, Sarah Mendoza, Emily Mount, Carleigh Mueller, Alex Goodman, Sofia Furlong, Hannah Unruh, Avae Masaniai and Lauren Bender.

IVC's No. 1 team of freshmen Cook and Moody went undefeated on the day and stayed unbeaten on the season. Cook was an all-Orange Empire Conference outside hitter for the IVC women's indoor volleyball team last fall.

Irvine Valley won all three of its regular season matches, but fell just short in the state final.

"It was a fun time and there was some great volleyball out here today," Pestolesi said. "Our girls really took to the sand. They got a taste of this (tournament play) when they played in Hermosa Beach in April."

Irvine Valley players were invited to paticipate in the USAV Collegiate Beach Challenge April 14-15.

"Our kids showed that they can compete in the sand against the four-year school players," Pestolesi said. "We had victories against USC and LMU teams.

"This is a (college) sport that is just going to grow in coming years. We expect more and more teams to join us. It is something that is going to get really big."​

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