Bump. Set. Spike.
Then, the crowd goes wild.
And wild is exactly what the crowd did in Crawford Court when the UC Irvine Women’s Volleyball team upset Cal State Northridge three games to two on Oct. 23.
The Anteaters gained a phenomenal win with scores of 21-30, 30-27, 30-23, 27-30 and 16-14.
But playing the Northridge Matadors was no easy task for the Anteaters.
During game one, with UCI up 5-0, the Matadors still managed to crank up the aggression and upset Irvine with a tremendous 30-21 win.
The Matadors’ Jen Ryan worked the net with 13 kills in game two, but that wasn’t enough for Cal State Northridge. UCI’s team was able to come together both mentally and physically from the loss in game one to record a total of 32 kills in game two.
UCI proved they were still in the game as they won the seocond match 30-27.
This tied them with the Matadors with one game apiece as game three opened.
UCI captain and outside hitter Kelly Wing led her team in overall kills by making 34 of her own for the entire game.
Both teams stepped up on defense, but Irvine proved to be the victors with a 30-23 win in the third match.
But the Matadors would not leave without a fight, as they battled to beat UCI in game four with a score of 30-27.
The Matadors continued to show their strength by opening game five with an incredible 8-0 lead.
But UCI continued to sprint, dig, hit, set and sweat. Despite the fierce adversity facing the Anteaters, they managed to slip past the Matadors and prove the game was not over yet.
UCI came up from behind at the start of game five with CSUN leading 0-8 and took an agressive lead to put the game in their favor.
The Anteaters scored an amazing match win of 16-14 after CSUN was ahead 14-13. UCI won the last three points of the set.
The words couldn’t come out fast enough when Wing was asked how she felt about the game.
‘It was a sweet win,’ Wing concluded.
‘I must admit, I had a tad bit of doubt [at the opening of game five], but just a tad bit,’ Wing said.
Wing stressed the word ‘tad’ and held up her fingers to display how little it was.
‘[Northridge] is very aggressive, and they play together well. But as things were looking up [at game five], I knew we weren’t going to let them get away,’ Wing said.
Even Matador’s Head Coach Jeff Stork had nothing but good things to say about the performance of both teams tonight.
‘Our team played well. We did things in [certain] sets to hurt ourselves. But it was a good match for us. We just tightened up at the fifth game,’ Stork said.
Stork also saw that his team ‘had a tough time with Kelly Wing on the outside, which we only seemed to get about three touches off of her. Kelly Wing is an excellent player that does a lot for that team.’
Alongside Wing, many other Anteaters did an excellent job, such as senior middle blocker Sami Cash, who cashed in an amazing 12 kills in game four and earned a career-high total of 11 blocks for the game.
Junior libero Keegan Featherstone also made a huge contribution for UCI by putting up 21 digs, the most out of all the Anteaters for the night.
UCI was stronger in blocks against Cal State Northridge, outblocking the Matadors 15 to eight .
Junior outside hitter Whitney Pavlik, a transfer student from Montana, recorded 10 much-needed kills in game five.
‘[Altogether] we were brought down from the mistakes at first. And the 8-0 lead [in game five] brought definite doubt. But as we had our momentum going I was
literally just jumping up and down with excitement,’ Pavlik
UCI Head Coach Charlie Brande, was pleased by both UCI’s and Northridge’s efforts.
‘Both teams had some good runs. It was more about what the other team was or was not doing. [In] the fifth game I was a bit worried, but players such as [freshman] Sarah Norman came up with blocks,’ Brande said.
And with Saturday’s win, the UCI Women’s Volleyball team is looking forward to two away games next week against Utah State and Idaho.
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