In leading up to the official start of the 2018-19 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 25 with the IVC men's soccer team at Yavapai in Arizona, the Laser athletic department is counting down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2017-18 school year.
The No. 2 story of the year talks about the incredible season turned in by the Irvine Valley women's beach volleyball team. Two pairs made the state tournament with Olivia Aguilar and Renata Bath and Taira Ka'awaloa and Megan Ramseyer advancing. Ka'awaloa and Ramseyer ended up battling their way over two days to take the pairs state title. IVC also made it to state as a team and won an Orange Empire Conference title.
Five months after helping Irvine Valley College capture a state volleyball championship indoors, sophomores Megan Ramseyer and Taira Ka'awaloa took to the sand to add another as the duo captured the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Pairs championship with a straight-set win over Josannah Vazquez and Sierra Davis of Long Beach City at West Valley College in Saratoga this past spring.
Ramseyer and Ka'awaloa posted a 22-20, 21-18 victory during a wind-swept championship match, culminating a day that also featured wins over Long Beach City's Jessica Kaeka and Brooklin Mize (22-24, 21-13 18-16), Cabrillo's Hayley Hall and Deirdre Wilson (21-12, 21-19), and MiraCosta's Michelle Mason and Claudia Mathews (23-21, 21-18).
"I think the last two days we had a hard time starting out strong and the difference today was we started out every match a lot stronger, so it kind of gave us some momentum from the beginning," Ramseyer said. "We were able to finish and just carry it over into the next match. And we definitely took every match very seriously."
It was the culmination of an incredible season by the IVC women's beach volleyball. The squad as a whole won an Orange Empire Conference title and also made the state tournament as a team.
The finish to the season was the two great days turned in by Ramseyer and Ka'awaloa in the individual competition.
"I think we controlled it pretty good," Ka'awaloa
Irvine Valley assistant coach Mike Cram said one of the keys for his Lasers pair was taking advantage of the conditions when the opportunity presented itself.
"The main thing was to keep the ball in play," he said. "(Long Beach) just kept playing steady and I think the difference was when we got on the good side we made a little run there with our serving and it really made a difference for us there in that game. It gave us enough cushion at the end when it got hairy."
Ramseyer-Ka'awaloa held leads in both sets but Vaquez-Davis rallied in each one to push the games to the brink. Vasquez and Davis's road to the championship was paved by wins over Antelope Valley's Jasmine Dixon-Heather Emory (21-16, 21-13), El Camino's Phina Leilua-Aiko Waters (21-16, 18-21, 15-12) and MiraCosta's Claire Kinder and Chloe Tripp (21-19, 21-19).
Cram was proud of his team's approach after it went 2-1 during pool play on Friday.
"Yesterday, they didn't have a very good day and it could've been easy to just kind of take it on in," he said. "But the girls today came in and they were really focused and they had a very good first match, and I think it gave them a good attitude. It made them feel that they could do better.
"They actually had their best match of the tournament today and it was lucky. Some days you have it on another day but they had it today."
The match capped a great weekend of championship beach volleyball, now in its third year of CCCAA sponsorship. Cabrillo beat MiraCosta to claim the team title on Thursday before 32 teams embarked on a grueling trip through pool play on Friday, setting up Saturday's exciting action.
The Lasers also made their way to state as a team.
Their trip ended in pool play.
The Lasers, seeded third out of Southern California, were in a pool with the top team from Northern California, Sierra, and the second team from So. Cal. in MiraCosta.
IVC defeated Sierra, 5-0, in a morning match on Thursday, getting straight-set wins from the No. 2 pair of sophomore Olivia Aguilar and freshman Renata Bath, the No. 3 pair of sophomore Hannah Salaya and freshman Emilie Austin and the No. 5 pair of sophomore Diamond Brogan and freshman Alyssa Vortouni.
But Irvine Valley lost to MiraCosta, 3-2, in a match on Thursday afternoon.
IVC got a quick 21-12, 21-17 win from its pair of Aguilar and Bath at No. 2, but the Lasers lost matches in straight sets on the first, fourth and fifth courts.
The No. 3 pair of Salaya and Austin fought back from 13-11 down in the third set to win, 22-20, 18-21, 15-13, over MiraCosta's Celin MacDonald and Lana Salazar.
MiraCosta went on to beat Sierra, 4-0, and move into the state final match against Cabrillo later on Thursday.
IVC made the state tournament after toughing out a 3-2 win over El Camino in a So. Cal. team regional at Granada Beach in Long Beach.
Irvine Valley cruised past Orange Coast, 4-1, in its first match and then had to sweat it out in the triumph over host El Camino.
It came down to the final match on the courts and Irvine Valley's No. 5 pair of Brogan and Vortouni defeated El Camino's Melissa Euyoque and Kiana Takahashi, 21-12, 17-21, 15-13, to move the Lasers on.
The duo was down, 6-2, in the third set, but rallied to take a 14-11 lead. El Camino's pair of Kiana Takahashi and Melissa Euyoque fought off two match points to make it 14-13, but Takahashi's serve sailed just long on the third match point to give the Lasers the win in the game and the match.