The 2012 season came to an end for the Irvine Valley men's volleyball team on Thursday night in the CCCAA State Championship semifinals at Long Beach City College.
Irvine Valley, the defending state champion, fell to Long Beach City in four sets.
Long Beach, which is the top-ranked team in the state, won, 25-20, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19.
Irvine Valley ended the season with an 12-8 overall record. IVC had won five straight matches before Thursday's loss.
Long Beach City (16-2) moved on to face Orange Coast in the state final on Saturday night.
Rob McLean and Jo’Lon Clark each posted 16 kills to help pace Long Beach, which won the Western State Conference this season.
Irvine Valley, which was second in the Pacific Coast Conference, was led by sophomore outside hitter Trevor Lund
, who had 14 kills.
Freshman outside hitter Zak Beard
had 12 kills and sophomore middle blocker Mark Metrakos
finished with 10 kills for IVC.
But the Lasers hit just .212 as a team on the night. Long Beach City hit .316 as a team. And the Vikings also out-blocked Irvine Valley, 15-8.
Freshman defensive specialist Ryan Windisch
chipped in eight digs and sophomore setter Kevin Fiske
contributed 42 assists for the Lasers.
The opening set was tight with nine ties. Neither team led by more than two until late in the set. With the score tied at 20, a service error by Beard gave LBCC a 21-20 advantage. Behind the serving of Luc Sybunroeung, the Vikings rallied for the final five points, including consecutive blocks by Aniefre Etim-Thomas to close out the win, 25-20.
Long Beach appeared well on its way to taking the second set, but couldn’t put away Irvine Valley. Clark’s late kill gave LBCC set point at 24-22. But a kill by Beard and three straight Long Beach hitting errors allowed Irvine Valley to steal the set by a final of 26-24.
The Vikings came out focused in the third, jumping ahead 5-2. But a pair of kills by IVC’s Lund and two Long Beach errors put the Lasers back ahead, 6-5. With the score tied at 11, Long Beach City put together another run with two kills, an ace from McLean and a block by Etim-Thomas and Clark to jump ahead 14-11.
Long Beach led, 24-18, but once again had trouble putting away the Lasers. A kill by IVC freshman middle blocker Jeff Austin
, a block by Metrakos, and a Clark hitting error got Irvine Valley within three at 24-21, but a crosscourt kill from Clark sealed the third-set win.
LBCC closed out the victory with an impressive fourth set. Long Beach built a commanding 19-12 lead that the Lasers couldn’t recover from. Clark once again capped the win with a kill off McLean’s pass to send the Vikings to their first state title match since 2009.