Irvine Valley’s men’s volleyball team is back in the state championships final four.
The defending champion Lasers moved on with a four-set victory over Moorpark in a CCCAA State Championships quarterfinal match on Tuesday night at Irvine Valley.
Irvine Valley came out on top, 25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19.
It was Irvine Valley’s fifth straight win and 10th in its last 12 matches after starting the season with a 2-5 record.
“Our minds are fresh right now,” IVC Coach Ki Yi said. “We know this is a new part of the season. We are playing with a lot of confidence. There are a lot of positives right now.”
Irvine Valley was swept by Moorpark at Moorpark early in the season during its 2-5 start.
But this was a different Laser team. And they were on top of their games Tuesday night.
Irvine Valley broke open the first set midway through with a three-point run after it was tied, 9-9. The Lasers went up, 12-9, on a kill by sophomore opposite Kevin Campbell, an ace by freshman outside hitter Zak Beard and a Moorpark hitting error.
Irvine Valley never trailed again in the set. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Trevor Lund brought on set point and IVC took the set when Campbell killed a Moorpark overpass.
The second set was close until late. It was tied, 17-17, and then, 21-21, and 22-22, but the Lasers got a kill by sophomore middle blocker Mark Metrakos to make it 23-22. Then an ace by sophomore setter Kevin Fiske on a serve Moorpark let go thinking it was going to be wide to set up set point.
Irvine Valley won the set when Moorpark was called for a net.
Moorpark answered in the third set. The Raiders led the entire way. They jumped out to a 7-3 lead and never looked back. Irvine Valley got to within 10-8 and 11-9, but a four-point run, capped by two straight blocks by Moorpark’s Tyler Peterson, gave the Raiders a 15-9 advantage.
Irvine Valley pulled to within 21-18 on a Moorpark hitting error. But Moorpark won the final four points of the set. An ace by Trevor Lanzarotta and then another block by Peterson ended it.
The fourth set, like the second, could have gone either way. But Irvine Valley pulled it out with some tough plays down the stretch. The two teams weren’t separated by more than a point until late.
Moorpark led, 19-18, on an IVC serving error. But the Raiders didn’t score another point after that.
Irvine Valley reeled off six straight to take the match.
Moorpark hit out to make it 19-19. Then Metrakos had one of the plays of the match, recording a solo block on Peterson, who was trying to finish an overpass. That gave IVC a 20-19 lead.
A kill by Metrakos put the Lasers ahead, 21-19.
Moorpark then hit out to make it 22-19. A kill by Lund pushed Irvine Valley within two points of the match at 23-19.
Moorpark’s Peterson then hit out and hit in the net on back-to-back points and Irvine Valley had the win.
“We did a lot of really good things,” Yi said. “But the coolest thing was the mental toughness we showed. We played our best when the match was tight. I was really stoked on that.”
IVC had three players in double figure kills. Metrakos finished with 13 kills, hit .480 for the night and added four aces. Freshman middle blocker Jon Guymon had probably his biggest match of the year with 12 kills and four blocks. He also hit .610 in the match.
Lund added 11 kills and five digs. Campbell also chipped in eight kills. Sophomore libero Garrett Komisarek ended with eight digs and Fiske contributed 47 assists, seven digs and two aces.
Irvine Valley, which improved its record to 12-7 overall, now heads to the state championship semifinals on Thursday at Long Beach City. The Lasers will take on the top-ranked team in the state, Long Beach City, in the second semifinal at 8 p.m.
"We haven't talked a lot about last year," Yi said of the run to the state title in 2011. "We've just been focused on trying to play good volleyball. We've willed our way into it. And now we will go and see what we can do."