UCI 3, SU 0
UC Irvine’s women’s volleyball team (9-12) took a breather from conference games, sweeping Seattle University on Thursday night. Libero Kristin Winkler led the team with 17 digs, becoming the third Anteater in school history to reach 1,400 career digs. Setter Marissa Alvarez set up 18 assists and middle blocker Arielle Manz had a career-high five blocks.
The Anteaters and Redhawks battled in the first set, exchanging points before evening the score at six. UCI then went on a four-point streak led by two kills from outside hitter Aly Squires and a service ace from Winkler.
Irvine managed to experiment with new formations in the victory. Head coach Paula Weishoff tactfully placed Shaina Olsen, Pauline Acres and Shannon Fleming up front, using height to their advantage. UCI held Seattle to a 17.1 percent conversion rate of their attack attempts. After Seattle narrowed the deficit to 14-12 UCI called a timeout. Fleming and Taylor Smith later teamed up, stuffing a Seattle attack to put the Anteaters up 17-13.From there, Seattle drifted behind as Irvine clinched the set, 25-18, with a service ace courtesy of Alexandra Hauser.
UCI opened up the second set with an 8-4 lead, but they followed it up with several errors. Despite Irvine’s issues, the Redhawks were never able to take a second set lead. .UCI, once again, prevented and frustrated Seattle’s attack attempts. Seattle committed a total of eight errors in the second set alone. Although the Redhawks closed the gap to 22-20, the Anteaters averted the threat. UCI managed a clutch block and landed a successful kill to win the set 25-21.
In the final set, Seattle started by giving the Anteaters a taste of their own medicine. The away team jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but UCI rallied off a 4-1 run of their own, highlighted by a shot violation that tied the game at five.. The Redhawks took a 9-6 lead with two skillful kills. As before, the Anteaters responded with another 4-1 run, tying the set at 11. The game went back and forth as each team strung together their own respective rallies. But once again, when the Anteaters needed it most, they stepped up. Tied at 24, UCI blocked a shot for the lead. An unforced error from the Redhawks handed UCI the three-set sweep.
“We’re focusing on next week, because we have three big matches and we’ve had three really good days of practice here,” Weishoff said. “You come out for any match, you come out hard. We don’t overlook anybody, so I don’t think it was hard to get anybody motivated.”
UCI will resume Big West play at home on Nov. 1 against Cal State Fullerton.