Swept Twice, Sweep Once

David Conley/New University


On Tuesday evening the ’Eaters faced off against longtime rival Long Beach State for the “Black and Blue” match, a tradition that began in 2005.  Long Beach dominated the court and swept the ’Eaters in three, putting UCI 0-3 in league.
UCI was able to hang on early in the first game at 5-5, but a 9-point streak by the 49ers put Long Beach ahead at 20-7.  UCI would only put three more points on the board, and the 49ers ended the match at 25-10.
The 49ers took an early tight lead in the second set at 4-3 and the ’Eaters would trail the rest of the set.  With out-of-character hitting, digging and service errors, Irvine was unable to build momentum.  The Beach widened their lead to 11 points with a kill at 20-9 and would go on to take the set with a block at 25-11.
In the third frame Irvine was able to hold Long Beach at 8-8 but the 49ers pulled away with a six-point lead at 19-13.  At 22-15, Long Beach put away two hits for match point, and took the set and the victory at 25-15 with a kill.
“We got a little light in the first game, and it all fell apart,” said sophomore middle blocker Shannon Flemming.  “In the second and third game, we just couldn’t figure it out.”
UCI 3, Cal Poly SLO 0
The ’Eaters came back strong on Friday night and swept the Cal Poly Mustangs in three, improving their Big West record to 1-3.
In the first set it was Cal Poly that would take the lead at 8-3, but the ’Eaters found their stride and mounted a 5-point run to tie it at 8-8.  Trading points, the Mustangs held onto a narrow 2-point lead at 20-18 that prompted a timeout for the Lady ’Eaters.  An Irvine kill tied the set at 23-23 and with an ace by Pauline Acres the ’Eaters took their first lead of the night.  With a standstill at 26-26, Taylor Smith scored a kill and Kristen Winkler served an ace to secure the set for UCI.
The Mustangs took a short-lived lead in the second at 7-4 when the ’Eaters were able to catch up to Cal Poly and took a 4-point lead at 12-8.  The Mustangs came to within two points at 22-20, but a kill by ’Eater Aly Squires ended the Mustang run and the ’Eaters took the set at 25-22.
The ’Eaters dominated early in the third with a 7-1 lead until the Mustangs scored four consecutive points to narrow the gap to 7-5.  Cal Poly would go on to take the lead at 15-13, but the ’Eaters were able to answer back and lead at 17-16 with back-to-back service aces from senior Alex Hauser.  The Mustangs would level the score at 21-21, but Squires put away three of the next four attempts for the victory at 25-21.
On Saturday evening at the Bren Events Center, the ’Eaters looked similar to the team that faced Long Beach when they went up against the Santa Barbara Gauchos.
The Gauchos took an early lead in the first at 11-5 and Santa Barbara would go on to extend the lead at 20-10.  As the ’Eaters struggled offensively, a solo block by UCSB finished the set at 25-12.
The second set looked promising for the ’Eaters as they took the lead at 10-6 but after a UCSB timeout, the Gauchos tied the match at 10-10.  UCI answered with a 4-point run but the Gauchos would ultimately take the lead at 22-21 and with back-to-back kills, UCSB would take the second set.
The third set stood at a standstill at 13-13, when the Gauchos pulled away with a 5-point lead at 18-13.  Five consecutive points for UCSB put Irvine behind at 23-14, and a UCI service error secured the victory for the Gauchos.
The loss brought the Lady ’Eaters to a 1-4 record in league play and 6-10 for the season.