In leading up to the start of the 2016-17 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 26 with women's soccer hosting a match, the Laser athletic department will count down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2015-16 school year.
The No. 6 story on the list includes well-deserved honors and accomplishments for long-time Irvine Valley volleyball coach Tom Pestolesi. He won his 300th women's volleyball match during the regular season in the fall of 2015 and then Pestolesi was inducted into the California Community College Men's Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame this past spring during the state championship event at Pierce College.
Pestolesi guided the Irvine Valley women's volleyball team to its third straight Orange Empire Conference title in the fall of 2015.
And he won his 300th match with the program as IVC clinched the OEC title with a 25-21, 25-27, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Cypress on sophomore night at IVC.
The victory put Irvine Valley, ranked No. 19 in the state, two matches ahead of both No. 15 Cypress and No. 18 Fullerton with just one contest left to play in the regular season.
Capturing a title was quite an accomplishment for a team that saw six players move on to play at four-year colleges last year, including four at the Division 1 level.
The Lasers, who went undefeated and won the state title a year ago, returned just four players and two starters from last season's squad.
"I am proud of each and every one of these kids," Pestolesi said. "I wasn't sure what to expect early in the season, but we kept getting better and better throughout. And look at where we are tonight. We are a totally different team than we were in August."
Pestolesi, who has a record of 302-102 on the women's side with the Lasers, led IVC to its first state title in women's volleyball and an undefeated record in 2014. He was also the head coach of the women's sand volleyball team in the spring of 2015 and the Lasers won the inaugural CCCAA state title.
In late April, Pestolesi was honored for what he has done for the men's volleyball program at Irvine Valley. He was put into the California Community College Men's Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He won three state championships as the head men's volleyball coach at IVC from 1991-94 and 1999-2009 with a career record of 163-95.
Pestolesi will be away from Irvine Valley this fall as he takes a five-month sabbatical. He is headed back to be a volunteer assistant with the women's volleyball team at his alma mater - the University of Hawaii. He was an All-American player for the men's volleyball team at Hawaii.
Pestolesi will also get to work with one of his former players at Irvine Valley in Annie Mitchem. Mitchem, who will be a senior middle hitter for the Rainbow Wahine, was a two-time AVCA national two-year college player of the year at Irvine Valley.
But Pestolesi will be back to coach the women's beach program at Irvine Valley in the spring of 2017 and also team up with Nate Ngo to run the men's program in the spring.