Men's Volleyball

Men's volleyball team loses heartbreaker to Pirates in five

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

The biggest win of the season for the Irvine Valley men's volleyball team was right there.

IVC, ranked No. 3 in the state, was ahead, 13-6, over No. 2 Orange Coast in the fifth set in an Orange Empire Conference match at Irvine Valley on Wednesday night.

But the Pirates never gave in.

Orange Coast rallied in the fifth, scoring 10 of the final 11 points and saving one IVC match point to win, 18-25, 25-16, 19-25, 32-30, 16-14, on Dig Pink Night at IVC.

OCC clinched the conference title outright with the victory and improved its record to 16-2 overall and 7-0 in conference.

Irvine Valley went to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the OEC. The Lasers now trail Fullerton (5-2) for second place in the standings. IVC finishes the regular season with a match at Fullerton on Friday.

The Lasers took a 2-1 lead in sets after playing a strong third set. Up, 14-13, Irvine Valley reeled off seven points in a row. Sophomore outside hitter Brennan To's kill gave the team a 21-13 lead.

Irvine Valley went ahead, 23-17, only to see OCC score two points in a row to make it 23-19.

But the Lasers finished the set with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Patrick Furlong and then a block by Furlong and sophomore middle blocker Matt August.

The fourth set was wild.

It was tied at 17, 18, 20 and 21. OCC scored three points in a row, including getting a kill by Will Donald to go up, 24-21.

But Irvine Valley came right back with four straight points and had a set point at 25-24 after a net by Orange Coast.

OCC's Wyatt Henson came through with a kill to tie it at 25.

Orange Coast had set points at 27-26, 28-27, 29-28 and 30-29, only to see Irvine Valley answer with a point each time.

But tied at 30, the Pirates ended the set with two in a row. Clark Steelee had a kill and then Donald and Henson combined for a block to send the match to a fifth set.

IVC looked to be on its way to a win. Tied, 2-2, Irvine valley scored five points in a row, getting two kills and two blocks by August. Orange Coast came back with two points on consecutive kills by Kyle McCauley to make it 7-4, but Irvine Valley scored three in row, including getting a block by sophomore setter Austin McBain and freshman outside hitter Trent Williams to put the Lasers up, 10-4.

And the Lasers led, 13-6, after Furlong tipped one off the OCC block and then put down a kill.

Coast called a timeout and then began its comeback. The Pirates scored seven in a row to tie it at 13. A kill by Steele and an ace by Colby Elder capped the run.

Irvine Valley went ahead, 14-13, and had a match point after Elder served out.

But a kill by McCauley tied it at 14 and then Henson recorded a kill and McCauley finished things out with an ace.

Irvine Valley was paced by Furlong with 14 kills, August with 13 kills and 10 blocks and freshman outside hitter Sean Carroll and To with 11 kills each. McBain finished with 50 assists and four blocks.

Freshman libero Kelsey Yogi had another strong match with 14 digs.

IVC is at Fullerton for that 6 p.m. match on Friday.

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