Women's Volleyball

Women's volleyball team storms back, beats Santa Ana in four

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

The Irvine Valley women's volleyball team didn't get off to the best start Wednesday night against Santa Ana in key Orange Empire Conference match at home.

But the Lasers, ranked No. 9 in the state, sure finished strong, rallying for a 17-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19 win over the No. 13 Dons to take complete control in the race for the OEC title.

Irvine Valley improved its record to 16-4 overall and 12-1 in conference. The Lasers hold a two-match lead over Orange Coast for first place with three contests left in the regular season.

IVC plays at Saddleback on Friday and closes with a match at Fullerton on Nov. 11 and a home match against Santiago Canyon on Nov. 15.

Santa Ana slipped into third place in the standings and went to 15-4 overall and 8-4 in conference.

Sophomore opposite Jayli Nealy ended with 12 kills to pace the Lasers. Freshman middle blocker Avery Bennett had one of her best matches of the season for the Lasers, finishing with eight kills and six blocks. She also hit .462.

Freshman outside hitter Tessa Marocco had seven knills, four aces and eight digs, sophomore libero Gabi Brown contributed 10 digs and four assists and sophomore setter Maddie Harkey rank the offense with 28 assists and chipped in six digs.

Irvine Valley scored the first point of the match, but dropped 10 of the next 12. IVC trailed by as many as nine points in the set before Santa Ana closed things out at 25-17 on a kill by Jaleen Lujan.

Santa Ana carried the momentum into the second set, racing to a 9-2 advantage.

The Lasers were still down late, but answered and took a 22-19 lead on a kill by Marocco. A kill by Bennett put IVC ahead, 23-20.

Santa Ana scored the next two points and pulled within 23-22 on a kill by Matilde Teixeira. It forced a Laser timeout.

The Dons served into the net to give Irvine Valley match point and a kill by Harkey ended the set and put IVC back in the match.

It was all Irvine Valley the rest of the way.

The Lasers took a 7-1 lead in the third set and never looked back on the way to a 25-16 win.

And in the fourth and final set, the Lasers grabbed the lead for good at 17-16 on an overpass kill by Harkey.

Back-to-back kills by Bennett gave Irvine Valley a 19-16 advantage.

A kill by Nealy pushed Irvine Valley's lead to 23-18. Two points later, an overpass kill by Bennett made it match point.

And Bennett and Nealy combined for a block for a point to finish off the win.


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