IVC advances to state final

IVC advances to state final

Cerise Ostrem

It took Irvine Valley’s men’s volleyball team 14 years to win its second state title.

The program’s third may be just days away.

In Thursday’s semifinal match at Irvine Valley College, the defending state champion Lasers (17-2) swept Long Beach City College, 30-20, 30-26, 30-27 to advance to the title match Saturday against Pacific Coast Conference rival Orange Coast College.

The Pirates (15-6) defeated Santa Monica College, 30-24, 31-29, 26-30, 30-21 in Thursday’s other semifinal.

The Lasers were led by two-time PCC player-of-the-year Peter Johnson, who finished with 20 kills and nine digs. The sophomore outside hitter hit .571 on the night.

“Peter was huge for us,” said coach Tom Pestolesi. “He had so many kills at key times. But he has been doing that for us now for two years.”

Reese Haine contributed 14 kills and three aces. Tim Golden added eight kills and seven digs. Nick Martus finished with seven kills and seven blocks. Sophomore libero Kaleo Baxter had five digs on the night.

With a hot hand in the earlier semifinal, Pirates Kevin Welch may serve up a threat for the Lasers in Saturday’s final match. The PCC co-player of the year, who set the OCC singles season and all-time kills record this season, led the night with 27 kills in Thursday’s victory over the Corsairs.

“We just tell them to worry about our side,” Pestolesi said. “If we take care of our side, everything else takes care of itself.”

Welch was unable to play the first time the Lasers and Pirates met this season, and IVC capitalized on the opportunity with the March 7 sweep. In the second round of conference action April 2, IVC edged out a five game victory, which included a 15-13 rally in the final game.

Saturday’s final match will kick off at 7 p.m. at IVC.

IVC advances to state final

IVC advances to state final

IVC advances to state final

IVC advances to state final

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