UCI 3, Cal Poly 2
UC Irvine’s women’s volleyball team (10-14) persevered through an extremely tough match against Cal Poly on Nov. 5, as the Anteaters gritted to a 3-2 victory. The victory salvaged a rough week and boosted them to a 4-8 record in the Big West Conference. Sophomores Shaina Olsen and Aly Squires recorded double-doubles as Olsen had 23 digs and 14 kills, while Squires had 10 digs and 16 kills. Junior Kristen Winkler recorded the second-highest dig mark in UCI single-match history with 33.
The match was intense from the start as the opening set saw five lead changes. Neither team managed to hold a lead larger than two points at any time in the set. After a series of exchanges, Cal Poly finally took momentum after taking a 20-19 lead through a kill. However, UCI finally came through to tie the game at 24 apiece after two consecutive kills and a Cal Poly error. Cal Poly ultimately won the set 29-27 with a kill, followed by a service ace.
UCI shook off the tough set and led 21-14 in the second. Although Cal Poly had a three-point rally, they never came close to threatening UCI’s lead. The ’Eaters clinched the set at 25-18.
The third set was similar to the first set, with the winning point coming from overtime. The two teams went back and forth throughout the entire match until they tied at 27. UCI emerged victorious thanks to Olsen’s kill followed by sophomore Mary Carls’ service ace.
Cal Poly dominated the fourth set, going on a 4-0 rally to break out of a 12-12 deadlock. Although UCI came within one point of tying the match at 21-20, the Mustangs went on a 4-1 streak to win the set.
The final set didn’t favor either side as both teams played to a 12-12 tie. However, UCI broke through and won the fifth and final set, 15-11, after Squires knocked down two kills.
UCSB 3, UCI 0
UCI stumbled to a tough loss as they were swept at UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 4. The Anteaters out-blocked the Gauchos 11-6, but they weren’t able to stop the Gauchos’ key player, Leah Sully. Sully recorded 18 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Aly Squires had a double-double, committing 14 kills and posting 14 digs for UCI. Junior Kristen Winkler also had 14 digs, while sophomore Shannon Fleming contributed seven blocks.
UCI jumped out to an early lead in the opening set with a 10-4 start. However, the Anteaters saw their massive lead dwindle after the Gauchos went on a seven-point rout, including three straight service aces. UCI reclaimed the lead at 17-15 thanks to a block and a UCSB attack error. But at 22-21, the Gauchos tied it up. Sophomore Shaina Olsen committed an attack error, which was followed by a UCSB kill and block, giving the Gauchos the first set.
UCSB came out strong in the second set with a 19-12 lead, but UCI battled through with a 5-0 run, bringing the deficit down to 21-19. But UCSB emerged victorious after two unforced errors from UCI and a kill.
Although the Anteaters led 10-7 in the third set, the Gauchos came back to tie the game at 11 apiece. They followed it up with a three-point run to lead 14-11. The Gauchos pushed their lead to 23-18 and closed the game for the sweep.
UCI 1, CSUF 3
UCI lost 3-1 to Cal State Fullerton at the Bren Events Center on Nov. 1. Winkler led the team in digs with 29, and Squires set a personal record with 24 digs in addition to her 15 kills. Sophomore Shannon Fleming totaled nine kills and five blocks, while sophomore Mary Carls recorded 29 assists and 17 digs.
In the first set, Irvine jumped out to an early 10-6 lead, but a six-point run by the Titans gave Fullerton the advantage at 12-10. The ’Eaters would tie it up at 15-15 with a solo block by senior Alex Hauser, but UCI would not see the lead again in the set. Fullerton went ahead by three points at 19-16 with a kill and the Titans would end the set at 25-21 as the ball fell in Irvine territory.
The ’Eaters mounted a five-point run in the second frame for 5-0, but the Titans would bring the score to a standstill at seven all. Irvine was able to regain the lead and went ahead by as many as five points on a Fullerton error to make it 13-8.
The Titans came to within a point at 15-14, but the ’Eaters held onto the advantage. A kill from Aly Squires prompted a Fullerton timeout at 19-14. The ’Eaters maintained the lead and ended the set at 25-15 with back-to-back kills from sophomore Shannon Fleming and Aly Squires.
Fullerton opened the third frame with a 12-5 lead, and the ’Eaters would trail the remainder of the set. The Titans would take the set with a 15-point advantage at 25-10.
In the fourth set, Fullerton took the point advantage at 8-7 and kept the lead until a standstill at 16 all. The two teams traded points until the Titans reached match-point at 24-22. After a UCI timeout, Irvine came back to tie it at 24 and went ahead at 25-24 with a dual block from Squires and Fleming. Fullerton responded with a kill to bring the game back to a 25-25 draw, but the ’Eaters fought to stay alive at 26 all.
Fullerton took the point lead with a tip at 27-26, and would claim the set and the victory at 28-26 when the ball fell, once again, in Irvine territory.