Women's Volleyball

Volleyball team clinches Orange Empire Conference title

Courtesy of on My Game Photography
Courtesy of on My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's women's volleyball team achieved one of its goals this season Friday night at Orange Coast.

The Lasers, ranked No. 1 in the state, clinched their third Orange Empire Conference title in a row with a 25-15, 26-24, 25-18 win at No. 15 Orange Coast.

The win moved Irvine Valley's record to 20-0 overall and 13-0 in conference with three matches left to play.

Orange Coast, which had won three matches in a row heading into Friday, saw its record slip to 17-5 overall and 10-4 in conference.

Irvine Valley also ran its set win streak to 38.

Sophomore outside hitter Gabriela Griego finished with 12 kills and hit .371, sophomore outside hitter Lea Kruse added 11 kills, 11 digs and three aces and sophomore middle blocker Kristin Austin had nine kills and hit .421 for IVC.

Sophomore outside hitter Alaina Gendale contributed seven kills and seven digs, sophomore libero Anna Unke had 12 digs and sophomore setter Truth Hafey chipped in five digs and ran the offense with 41 assists.

Mahina Kenoi led the offense for ICC with 10 kills and 10 digs, while Lily Johnson added nine kills. Bailey Coffin knocked down eight kills and Joceline Martinez chipped in six.

Thea Snider dished out 27 assists to go along with 12 digs, while Terri Tokita-Robins also had 12 digs.

Coast led 9-7 in the opening set, thanks to a pair of kills by Coffin and two from Johnson before IVC went on a 15-3 run to grab control of things.

Griego ripped four kills during that run and the Lasers grabbed the opening set.

Trailing, 18-11, in the second set, OCC put a bit of a scare into the Lasers with an 11-4 run, turning a certain 2-0 lead in the match for IVC into a 22-22 dogfight.

Back-to-back kills by Kruse gave the Lasers a pair of set-point opportunities, but a kill by Johnson and a net return by IVC evened the set at 24, forcing the Lasers into a timeout.

But Irvine Valley calmly picked up the next two points on a kill by Griego and a net return by the Pirates as the Lasers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Lasers again jumped out early on the Pirates and led 20-14 in the third set before a mini OCC rally made things interesting.

Consecutive kills by Martinez and Coffin as well as an ace by Kenoi forced another Lasers' timeout at 20-17.

But four straight points for the Lasers out of that timeout gave the guests enough cushion to take the match just two points later.

Irvine Valley returns to action in its final home match of the regular season next Wednesday at home against Golden West at 6 p.m.

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