It was another win and another sweep for the Irvine Valley women’s volleyball team on Tuesday night.
Except this time it was in the postseason.
Irvine Valley, seeded first, opened the Southern California Regional Playoffs with a 25-19, 25-12, 25-20 victory over No. 16 Mt. San Antonio at home.
IVC, which improved its record to 21-0, advances to the second round on Saturday and another home match. The Lasers will host No. 8 Fullerton, which beat No. 9 LA Pierce in five sets in the opening round.
The sweep over Mt. SAC was Irvine Valley’s 17th of the season.
"The record is great and all, but the best thing is we move on in the playoffs," said IVC coach Tom Pestolesi, who was recently named Orange Empire Conference and Regional coach of the year. "That is what it is all about."
The Lasers, winners of the Orange Empire Conference, started each set slow, but picked it up in every one.
IVC pulled away midway through the first set. Up, 19-16, the Lasers finished the set on a 6-3 run.
Kills by sophomore middle blocker Haley Whyte and freshman outside hitter Kobi Pekich ended the set.
The second set was tied, 5-5, when Irvine Valley took over. The Lasers scored five points in a row - on a Mt. SAC serving error, two aces by Pekich, a kill by freshman middle blocker Annie Mitchem and a kill by freshman setter Hailey Jones - to go ahead, 10-5.
A 6-1 run then gave Irvine Valley a comfortable 18-9 lead.
An ace by sophomore defensive specialist Emily Daly ended the set soon after.
Mt. SAC scored the first four points of the third set and later led, 8-2.
But the Lasers, behind Orange Empire Conference MVP Mitchem, scored seven consecutive points to take the lead.
Mitchem had four kills, Daily added an ace and Pekich had a kill during the run.
Mt. SAC tied the set at 9-9 and 10-10, but another kill by Mitchem gave IVC the lead for good at 11-10.
The Mounties hung around in the set and were within two points at 19-17 after a kill by Alyssa Trujillo.
Irvine Valley answered with a block by Mitchem and a kill by Jones to go ahead, 21-17.
The Lasers later reached match point on a kill by freshman outside hitter Marisa Doran.
After Chelsea Wolf kept Mt. SAC alive with a block for a point, Mitchem closed out the match.
She took a set from Jones and put down a kill on a slide play to give IVC its 21st-straight win.
Mitchem finished with 11 kills and 7 blocks for IVC.
Sophomore opposite Alexis Radecki had eight kills and Whyte finished with seven kills and three blocks. Whyte hit .778 on the night.
Sophomore libero Becky Moodie led the team with 17 digs, Pekich added 15 digs and Jones ended with 31 assists and 10 digs.
Mt. SAC, which was third in the South Coast Conference, finishes its season with a record of 17-7. The Mounties were led by Kaleno Lino and Marissa Hageman with 10 kills apiece. Chloe Clancy, Leilani Hobayan and Alyssa Trujillo each added nine digs.