In a contest pitting veteran experience against youthful energy, it was the veterans who came out victorious.
Rallying back from a 2-0 deficit, the UCI Alumni defeated the current UC Irvine Men’s Volleyball team 3-2 on Jan. 14 at Crawford Court in the annual exhibition skirmish between the friendly rivals.
Coming off a week where they recorded a 2-2 record and a number 10 ranking in the recent USA Today/AVCA poll, the Anteaters hosted notable UCI volleyball alums in preparation for their upcoming road trip to 13th-ranked Pacific and 11th-ranked Stanford.
Noteworthy alumni attending included James Felton, Jon Arata, Donnie Rafter, Kevin Reid, Chris Harger, Mike Rupp, David Kniffin, Jarett Jensen, Monte Tucker, Leland Quinn and Steve Cavella. UCI all-time kills leader Cory Hinkle, and all-time assist leader Erick Helenihi also participated in the skirmish.
‘It’s great to get all the old ‘Eaters back at Crawford Court,’ said Alumni Captain Leland Quinn. ‘The UCI program is going to be an elite program in the nation. It’s definitely headed in the right direction.’
With first-team All-American Jimmy Pelzel leading the UCI offense, the Anteaters raced out to an 11-6 advantage early in the first match. The Alumni rallied back to tie it at 15-15, but the unyielding UCI defense held off the Alumni rally to eventually capture the first game 30-26.
The Anteaters dominated the second game from the start, cruising to a 30-18 victory. Senior opposite hitter Kyle Weichert sparked a key 9-1 run with two crucial kills, eventually capping off the victory with a towering spike over two Alumni defenders.
‘I did pretty well in the game