Irvine Valley started strong, but it wasn't enough in a five-set Orange Empire Conference loss to Saddleback at home on Wednesday night.
Saddleback rallied for a 14-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-12 win.
The Lasers, ranked ninth in the state, had their record fall to 9-4 overall and 5-1 in confrence. The Lasers still lead the OEC standings.
Saddleback picked up its 10th victory of the season and moved to 10-2 overall and 3-2 in conference.
IVC cruised in the first set.
A kill by sophomore outside hitter Angelina Griego capped a 5-1 run and gave Irvine Valley an 18-9 lead.
Irvine Valley moved to set point after a kill off the block by freshman outside hitter Tessa Marocco.
IVC won the set three points later on a kill by freshman middle blocker Kristen Skenes.
The second set was back and forth until Irvine Valley took control with a 5-0 run. A kill by sophomore opposite Jayli Nealy gave IVC an 11-6 advantage.
The Lasers led, 18-12, on a block for a point by sophomore setter Maddie Harkey and Skenes.
Saddleback bounced back and got within one point late in the set before Marocco and freshman middle blocker Avery Bennett closed the set with a combo block.
Momentum turned in the third set with Saddleback racing out to a 7-2 lead.
The Lasers tied the set at 12 on an overpass kill by sophomore Emily Hon.
But Saddleback got back-to-back kills by Lilyann Horner and Sydney Brown to move ahead, 14-12, and Saddleback never trailed the rest of the set.
A kill and then block by Brown ended the set and put the Gauchos back in the match.
The fourth set was close until Saddleback went on a 4-1 run behind a kill by Jolie Robinson to to make it 14-10.
Irvine Valley pulled even at 21 on a net contact by the Gauchos.
But Saddleback won four of the final five points of the set. Another kill by Robinson sent the match to a fifth set.
In the fifth set, Irvine Valley held a 8-6 lead on a net by Saddleback.
The Gauchos tied things at 8-8.
And it was tied at 9, 10 and 11.
Saddleback took the lead for good at 12-11 on a kill by Brown and the Gauchos later closed out the match on an IVC serve into the net.
For Irvine Valley, Nealy finished with 22 kills and hit .385, Marocco added 16 kills and four blocks and Bennett had five kills.
Harkey contributed 39 assists and six digs and sophomore libero Gabi Brown ended with 20 digs.
The Lasers have Friday off from conference action and will take on Fullerton in another OEC match next Wednesday at home at 6 p.m.