UC Irvine defeated the Aggies of UC Davis, taking the match in four sets 22-25, 25-23, 25-18 and 25-17 on Friday.
The Aggies jumped on the Anteaters early and often in the first set. The Lady Anteaters only led once in this set at 3-2, needing to play catch-up, but trailed the rest of the set and eventually lost 25-22.
“Davis came out at us hard, and I think we might have underestimated them a bit,” said hitter Alexandra Filkins.
The frustration level in the second set was much the same, but the result was different, taking this one at 25-23. The Anteaters kept coming up with the short end of the stick in the first two sets; they were called for several double hits, their kills were long out of bounds and they were blocked several times at the net. Davis was also able to take advantage of 21 total errors committed by the Anteaters in the first two sets.
“When you are at home sometimes you think that you are going to get home court advantage and look for the referees to bail you out, but that was not the case tonight,” Filkins said.
After splitting the first two sets that could have gone either way, the ‘Eaters would have to battle back from their frustration and mistakes to force their dominance on the Aggies. The exciting third set featured three lead changes while no team was able to build more than a two-point lead until UCI pulled away at 16-14, going on to take the set at 25-18.
“Give credit to our girls that they were strong enough to persevere and win the second set, and establish momentum for the rest of the match,” said Head Coach Charlie Brande.
The fourth set would go Irvine’s way once again as UCI was able to carry its momentum from the third set to the fourth. The Anteaters quickly overwhelmed Davis with the striking attack of Filkins, Lauren Kellerman and Kari Pestloesi. They came out of the gate storming, never trailing in the set. The three outside hitters finished the match with double digits kills.
UCI helped themselves by only committing 10 errors in the last two sets and were able to convert .433 of their killing opportunities, a vast improvement from the first two sets in which their killing percentage was only a meager .191.
UCI 3 Pacific 1
The UC Irvine women’s volleyball team extended their impressive winning streak to five matches on Saturday night by defeating the University of the Pacific Tigers 25-17, 15-25, 25-21, 25-15 in Crawford Court.
UCI played excellent defense, not letting Pacific have any easy points, as five Anteaters recorded double-digit digs. In addition, UCI out-blocked Pacific 11.5 to five. Offensively, Kari Pestolesi had a season high 19 kills on an impressive .341 hitting percentage. Lauren Kellerman poured in 12 kills and led the team with 15 digs.
The Anteaters came out with tremendous energy in the first set, opening with a 7-1 run and never relinquishing the lead. UCI cruised through the set for a 25-17 victory.
After coming out so strongly in the first set, the Anteaters played a lackluster second set. They dug themselves into a hole early, finding themselves down 6-10 and were never able to recover, losing the set 15-25.
Disappointed after the drop in energy in the second set, the Anteaters knew they needed to win the third.
“We thought we needed to get the energy back, whatever it took, said setter Taryn Robertson. We were going to be as aggressive as we could right from the beginning and not be scared to make mistakes, not be timid, but just get after it.”
The Anteaters did just that in the third set. UCI managed to keep a slight lead at 22-20. The Anteaters then made one final push to take the set 25-21 on a kill from Alexandra Hauser.
The final set was won by stellar blocking by the Anteaters as UCI managed 6.5 blocks in this set alone. While Pacific managed to stay close for a while, the Anteaters pulled away in the middle of the set, taking a 15-9 advantage. UCI never looked back and won the set 25-15 on a Robertson-Nordyke-Ellis triple block.
The win moves UCI to second place in the Big West with a 9-3 conference record. The Anteaters have now strung together five consecutive wins and hope to continue this streak in two tough road matches next week against rival Long Beach State and UCSB. Coach Brande attributes this newfound consistency to teamwork.
“We’ve really come together as a team. Everybody has bought into doing their role,” Brande said.
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