Women's sand volleyball team is perfect at State Championships

Women's sand volleyball team is perfect at State Championships

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team made it a perfect weekend in the first California Community College Athletic Association Women's Sand Volleyball Championships.

The Lasers won a team state title on Friday and then had all three of their teams in the individual competition claim state titles on Saturday at Irvine Valley.

Sophomores Marisa Doran and Kobi Pekich won the No. 1 team title, Sophomore Annie Mitchem and freshman Emily Reinking took the No. 2 team championship and sophomore Samantha Holdredge and freshman Hailee Earnest captured the No. 3 team title.

Irvine Valley also won the indoor title last fall.

Mitchem, the two-time AVCA 2-Year National Volleyball Player of the Year, and Reinking and Holdredge and Earnest each won their final matches in straight sets.

Mitchem and Reinking defeated Grossmont's Megan Angerstein and Lindsey Spinning, 21-12, 21-7, in the No. 2 pairs final match.

"Annie can be so intimidating out there," Irvine Valley coach Tom Pestolesi said. "She is so long and powerful, but also such a very good overall volleyball player and it shows on the sand. And Emily might only be 5-4, but she plays much bigger. She plays so hard and gets everything. She just competes. This weekend, they went right through everyone."

Holdredge and Earnest won, 21-15, 21-15, over Tiffany Cobain and Brooke Callahan of Grossmont in the No. 3 pairs final match.

"They might have been our best team over the last month," Pestolesi said. "They only really started playing together exclusively five or six weeks ago, but they are a perfect fit. They play relaxed and are both so very steady."

Holdredge and Earnest also made it to the Orange Empire Conference final match last week.

The No. 1 teams final match went down to the wire. Doran and Pekich won a tough battle over Grossmont's team of Lauren Hays and Lexi Reddick, 21-18, 18-21, 15-12 for the title.

"Kobi and Marisa have played together for two straight years," Pestolesi said. "They are our top team for a reason. They are always moving forward and going after it. They give 100 percent all of the time and are constantly putting pressure on the other team."

Pestolesi noted that sophomores Mitchem, Doran and Pekich were part of indoor teams at Irvine Valley that went 51-2 the past two seasons with a state championship and a state runner-up finish, a sand state championship as well as sand individual titles.

Irvine Valley's sand volleyball team didn't lose to another community college team the past two seasons either.

"It was awesome to watch what our gals did," Pestolesi said. "It just proves that we were the best team. This is the greatest group of women's volleyball players to ever come through Irvine Valley and it has been a pleasure to be their coach. They had the focus, drive and loved to play together.

"We are definitely going to miss them, not only because they were so talented, but they were awesome kids and so much fun to be around.

"We also couldn't have done it without the outstanding coaching staff we have with Ki (Yi) and Kaleo (Baxter), Butch (May) and Rich (Brown) and Gary (Nakamura) on the indoor side and then Butch and Mike (Cram) and how much knowledge threy provided about the sand game. They have all been unbelievable."