Despite dropping the first two sets in Wednesday’s match, the Irvine Valley College women’s volleyball team could not be stopped in its pursuit of perfection, as they defeated Golden West College in five sets (19-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-4) to finish the season 20-0 and advance to the playoffs.
On Sunday, the California Community College Athletics Association released its playoff brackets, and the Lasers received the No. 1 seed in the Southern California Regional bracket. As the No. 1 seed, the Lasers clinch home court advantage throughout the regional playoffs. Their first match will be Tuesday night, when they host the No. 16 seed Mt. San Antonio College Mounties (17-6, 11-3 in conference).
The Lasers’ chances at an undefeated season appeared to be jeopardy early in the match, as they lost an early lead in the first set to lose 25-19. Although it was much closer in the second set, as neither team were able to gain a lead of three or more points, the Rustlers managed to come away with the 25-23 win in the second set.
IVC turned up the pressure in the third and fourth sets to tie the match and force a decisive fifth set. Golden West was overwhelmed by the Lasers’ attack in the fifth set, as IVC won the set 15-4.
Freshman Annie Mitchem led the team with 19 kills and 2.5 blocks in the win. Her strong performance throughout the season led to her being selected to the 2013 All-State Southern California first team. Mitchem is currently fourth in the state with a .454 hitting percentage, and leads the state with an average of 1.64 blocks per set. With 35 solo blocks, Mitchem broke the school’s single season record, previously set by Rachel Wall in 2000. Along with a state-leading 70 block assists, Mitchem also broke the school record for total blocks in a season (105).
The Lasers will host the Mounties on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the next round on Saturday against the winner of the match between Fullerton College and Los Angeles Pierce College. Last season, the No. 8 Lasers were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the No. 9 Fullerton College Hornets in a five set loss (25‐17, 22‐25, 19‐25, 25‐18, 15‐13).