After a year absence, the Irvine Valley women's badminton team is back in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship.
The Lasers will be representing the Southern California after rallying for a 11-10 victory over Pasadena City in the regional dual team final on Wednesday at Irvine Valley.
Irvine Valley, which has won five state titles - the last in 2009 - will take on the Northern California representative in the state team final next Thursday at the City College of San Francisco.
"We knew Pasadena City was a very good team and it was going to be tough for us to win," IVC Coach Martin McGrogan said. "But our girls really came through today."
The Lasers, winners of the Orange Empire Conference, earned the right by claiming the final two doubles matches against South Coast Conference champion Pasadena City.
Down, 10-7, in the overall team score, the doubles teams of Thuy Hoang and Maddie Sapigao and Vimla Phongasavithas and Ann Nim pulled out wins to give Irvine Valley the regional title.
The deciding doubles match, between Phongasavithas and Nim and Pasadena City's Priscilla Lun and JK Nguyen-Le, went down to the final game.
Nguyen-Le and Lun won the first game, 21-18, and Phongasavithas and Nim won the second game, 21-17. Phongasavithas and Nim carried the momentum from the second game into the third, racing out to a 12-6 lead and never looked back.
Lun and Nguyen-Le pulled within two points at 16-14, 17-15, 18-16, 19-17 and 20-18, but each time the IVC duo had an answer.
A winner by Phongasavithas gave Irvine Valley match point at 20-17.
Pasadena City won the next point, but a serving error by the Lancers ended the game and the match.
Nim was one of the players of the match for the Lasers. She won two singles contests from her No. 3 position, including beating Pasadena City No. 3 player Jewy Liang, 21-18, 21-17, to pull Irvine Valley to within 10-7 heading into the final doubles matches.
Nim and Phongasavithas also won both of their doubles contests on the day.
Phongasavithas, Irvine Valley's No. 2 singles player, split her singles contests.
IVC's No. 1 player, Hoang, remained undefeated in singles on the season with two straight-game victories. She defeated Lun, 21-18, 21-17, in a key late match.
Overall, IVC won five of six singles matches in the first through third positions and three of four matches in the first and second doubles spots.
"When you have players like Thuy and Vimla you always have a chance," McGrogan said. "They are top end players with a lot of experience. And then Ann played fantastic for us today too."
Pasadena City, which reached the state championship for the first time in school history last season, dominated the lower half of the lineup, getting two wins each from Amy Ly at No. 5 singles and Thoa Huyhn at No. 6 singles. Huyhn and Clara Chang also won at No. 3 doubles for the Lancers.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 10-0 overall, while Pasadena City ended its team season with a record of 13-2.
Irvine Valley 11, Pasadena City 10
Thuy Hoang (IVC) def. Priscilla Lun (PCC) 21-18, 21-17
Hoang (IVC) def. JK Nguyen-Le (PCC) 21-19, 21-2
Lun (PCC) def. Vimla Phongasavithas (IVC) 21-15, 21-15
Phongasavithas (IVC) def. Nguyen-Le (PCC) 21-11, 21-8
Ann Nim (IVC) def. Jewy Liang (PCC) 21-18, 21-17
Nim (IVC) def. Ellen Yu (PCC) 21-10, 21-8
Liang (PCC) def. Nancy Chen (IVC) 21-1, 21-1
Yu (PCC) def. Chen (IVC) 21-13, 21-11
Amy Ly (PCC) def. Maddie Sapigao (IVC) 21-10, 21-12
Thoa Huyhn (PCC) def. Sapigao (IVC) 21-9, 21-10
Ly (PCC) def. Gigi Sui (IVC) 21-10, 21-10
Huyhn (PCC) def. Sui (IVC) 21-4, 21-2
Phongasavithas/Nim (IVC) def. Lun/Nguyen-Le (PCC) 18-21, 21-17, 21-18
Phongasavithas/Nim (IVC) def. Liang/Yu (PCC) 21-9, 21-6
Lun/Nguyen-Le (PCC) def. Hoang/Sapigao (IVC) 21-7, 21-7
Hoang/Sapigao (IVC) def. Liang/Yu (PCC) 21-10, 21-14
Huyhn/Clara Chang (PCC) def. Chen/Sui (IVC) 21-8, 21-16