Players on the Irvine Valley women's beach volleyball team battled and fought all day on Thursday and they are sending their legendary coach out on top.
Irvine Valley, the first California Community College Athletic Association State Champion in 2015, came back to defeat Cabrillo to win its pool and then out-lasted Feather River in a final match that went down to the wire to claim the State Championship on the Laser beach courts at IVC.
Irvine Valley, in a match that went down to a final set with all fans in attendance watching the No. 2 flight, had the duo of Jolie Rasmussen and Barett Nolan score a 16-14 win in the third set to give the Lasers the title.
And the match was back and forth throughout between Feather River's Katherine Gee and Sydnee Rowe and Rasmussen and Nolan.
The first four matches were decided in straight sets with Feather River's Jessica Hickel and Ava Saiers (No. 4) and Carissa Chainey and Taylor O'Reilly (No. 1) each winning and Irvine Valley's Diamonique Brogan and Chloe Swanson (No. 3) and Gabi Brown and Sevilla Leuteneker (No. 5) earning victories.
So, the state title was riding on a match that was decided on a few final points on the No. 2 court.
Rasmussen and Nolan, who only started playing together in March, won the first set, 21-15, but Feather River's Gee and Rowe dominated the second set, 21-9.
Irvine Valley took a 9-6 lead in the third set only to see the Golden Eagle pair score five points in a row, including getting a block by Rowe to put Feather River ahead, 11-9.
But the Lasers tied the match at 12 on a hitting error and then went up, 13-12, on a kill by Rasmussen.
The set was tied at 13 and 14 before IVC got a kill by Nolan and a ball hit out by Feather River ended the final and gave Irvine Valley its second CCCAA team title.
"They fit," Pestolesi of Rasmussen and Nolan. "It is difficult to make changes sometimes, but we knew that it was a pairing that could work. They came up big today."
So did the No. 3 IVC team of Brogan and Swanson, who swept all three of their matches on the day.
Pestolesi retired from coaching Irvine Valley's women's and men's indoor volleyball teams and teaching on campus in 2020, but has continued to be a part of running the beach program.
He has been a big part of helping start what is now CCCAA women's beach volleyball, one of the growing sports in the state.
O'Reilly and Chainey and Hickel and Saiers each had important, three-set victories against OCC to close that match out for the Golden Eagles.
Irvine Valley 3, Feather River 2 (CCCAA State Championship Final)
All of the team scores from Thursday's State Championship at Irvine Valley can be found here
Brent Shaver, Irvine Valley Sports Information