The UC Irvine women’s volleyball team ended the season on a positive note, Nov. 27, as they defeated the Akron Zips, 4-1.
The Anteaters, who finish this year with an 8-22 record overall, were determined to give the home crowd something to be thankful for this holiday weekend.
UCI opened the first set looking sharp. Acing the opening serve, the ’Eaters established an early 7-2 lead. Leading both sides with five kills in the first set, senior Kari Pestolesi ignited her team in the opening minutes. Her intensity was shared with teammate Juliane Piggott, who finished with 15 kills and 11 digs.
UCI managed to pull away, increasing the deficit by recording 15 points to Akron’s measly five scratches. The tenacious defensive effort held the Zips to only 10 points in the opening set.
UCI carried that momentum into the second set. After falling behind 6-3, the ’Eaters quickly rallied back to tie the match at nine. The Zips regained the lead, forcing Head Coach Paula Weishoff to call a timeout. UCI would return to the hardwood capitalizing on three straight efforts. The set would go back and forth between the two sides until UCI managed to pull away at 23-21 and eventually ended the set on a service error committed by Akron.
The third set went to Akron as their defensive effort led to easy opportunities for the Zips. Akron recorded seven of their 12 team blocks in the third set. Unfortunately for the ’Eaters, their second unit was unable to foster any consistent runs to match up with Akron’s steadfast efforts.
UCI would again turn to their starters in the fourth and final set to finish off the match. Piggott and Pestolesi rallied their side with the support of freshman setter Mary Carls. UCI would take an early 6-1 lead and not look back.
“Most people think this season was disappointing because we didn’t have a winning record, but we had a great group of friends and a great team and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Pestolesi said.
Playing her last game in the blue and gold uniform, Pestolesi is optimistic about her future and the future of the team.
“I think losing this season just makes this team so much hungrier for next year. There are a couple great recruits coming in next year that will really help our team. As far as I’m concerned, I’m hoping to go overseas, maybe to Europe and play over there,” Pestolesi said.