Irvine Valley's men's volleyball team started the 2012 season right where it left off the 2011 campaign.
The Lasers, who are the defending state champions, captured the preseason Long Beach City College Invitational tournament last weekend.
Irvine Valley compiled a record of 5-2 in the tournament and beat El Camino in the final, 25-18, to claim the title.
The Lasers had mixed results in pool play competition. Irvine Valley defeated El Camino (25-19, 25-23), but lost to Santa Barbara (25-20, 27-26) in round one.
In the second round of pool play, the Lasers beat Santa Monica (25-12, 25-15), but then lost to Moorpark (25-16, 27-26). IVC still moved on to the playoff round.
As the fourth-seed, the Lasers defeated No. 5 Moorpark (26-24). In the championship semifinals, Irvine Valley knocked off No. 1 Long Beach City (25-17) before beating No. 7 El Camino (25-18).
The Lasers open up the regular season on Wednesday at home with a 2 p.m. match against Santa Monica.
Irvine Valley returns several players from its 2011 state-winning squad, including two players that were named to the all-tournament team at the state event last season.
They are sophomore middle blocker Mark Metrakos and sophomore setter Kevin Fiske. Metrakos averaged 2.62 kills and 1.20 blocks per game and led the team with a .363 hitting percentage a year ago.
He ranked first in blocks and sixth in hitting percentage in the Pacific Coast Conference. Metrakos had 17 kills and six blocks in Irvine Valley’s state championship winning, five-set win over Grossmont last season.
Fiske averaged 11.09 assists, which ranked second in conference. Fiske totaled 58 assists in the win over Grossmont in the state title match last season.
Among the other players IVC also has back from last season are middle blocker Kevin Campbell, libero Garrett Komisarek and outside hitter Kevin Ringuette. Irvine Valley finished with a record of 15-6 overall last season and was 8-4 in conference.
Photo to the right - IVC Celebrating after match point at the 2011 State Championships
Click here to read a feature in the Daily Pilot about the men's volleyball team and its winning ways