UCI Loses to LBSU 2-3
The UC Irvine women’s volleyball team had a five-game winning streak going into their match against 25th-ranked Long Beach State on Wednesday, but fell in five games: 25-20, 21-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-13.
Irvine (14-12, 9-4) was exchanging the lead with the 49ers (22-4, 11-2) throughout the match. The lead changed hands numerous times throughout the night. In the first game, UCI jumped out to a 16-13 lead only for it to disappear as LBSU tied the game at 18 and closed out the first set with the win.
The Anteaters answered in the second game on some intelligent play at the net by senior Lauren Kellerman, who registered two of her 23 kills in the last part of the game to secure the win for the Anteaters.
Unfortunatley, the momentum from the second game did not transfer into the third game for Irvine. LBSU jumped out to a dominating 10-4 lead, and Irvine was never able to get back into the game. The 49ers closed out the third game with five straight points and went into the fourth with a 2-1 lead in the match, looking to finish off the Anteaters.
Irvine had other plans.
The fourth game featured tight scoring as UCI only had a two-point lead at the mid-way point. But as the match progressed, the momentum was on the Anteaters’ side as it went up 23-18 on a big block from Alexandra Filkins and Alexandra Hauser, putting Irvine within two points of forcing a fifth game. Chelsea Ellis finished the job, slamming in the game point to tie the match at 2-2 and keep Irvine in a position to continue its winning streak.
As the fifth game moved closer to the deciding points, UCI nipped at the 49ers’ heels the entire time. The Anteaters made a late push and cut the LBSU lead to one at 12-13, but were unable to push past the strong defense of LBSU, losing the fifth game and the match.
Even though the loss meant UCI’s five-game winning streak coming to an end, the team’s effort was promising. Kellerman registered a season-high 23 kills and led the team with 18 digs. Kari Pestolesi was right behind Kellerman with 14 kills and a career-high 20 kills as Taryn Robertson accumulated 49 assists.
UCI Defeats UCSB 3-1
Saturday was UC Irvine’s chance to redeem itself after the tough loss earlier in the week to Long Beach State and with a chip on their shoulder, UCI went into UC Santa Barbara and took out their frustrations on the overmatched Gaucho squad.
UCI, now 15-12 and 10-4 in the Big West, had the upper hand throughout, only dropping one game to beat UCSB (10-15, 6-8) in four games: 25-16, 19-25, 25-22, 25-17.
It was a feeling-out process in the first game as the teams went point for point, exchanging five ties at the start, only to see UCI break away at 8-8 with a 3-0 run to put it up 11-8. That was the first sign of UCI gaining control of the match as it proceeded to dominate in the first game, winning handily 25-16.
The Gaucho squad went into the next match with a little more intensity and stayed with the Anteaters for the first half of the match, tying the game at 12. But much to Anteater dismay, the Gauchos continued their streaky play and strung together a 4-0 run, forcing UCI into a catch-up mode and leaving them unable to close the gap. UCSB pulled out a game-two win, 19-25.
Game three highlighted the Gaucho’s ability to go on big runs, but more importantly, highlighted Irvine’s ability to close out a game. After going up 17-9 very quickly, Irvine looked to close while UCSB looked to make a run.
The Gauchos did just that.
UCSB went on a 11-3 run to tie the score at 20 a piece, but UCI held its composure. The Anteaters went on a run of their own, scoring five straight points to win 25-20, and take a two games-to-one lead.
The fourth and final game was a statement maker for the Anteaters. They went up 12-4 and never opened the door for UCSB to sneak in another win. They closed out the Gaucho squad 25-17 in the fourth-game victory and won the match 3-1.
Taryn Robertson led the team with 41 assists, and Alexandra Hauser was solid at the net with six block assists and seven kills.
UCI will continue its bid to make the playoffs on Friday in a rematch against UCSB.