By Lucia Arreola
Photos Provided by UCI Athletics
The UCI Anteaters won against the UCR Highlanders, 3-1, on Nov. 15 at the Bren Events Center.
The Anteaters paced themselves in the first set. With a steady offensive flow, UCI was able to keep the match close from the start. However, with an ace from the Highlanders, the score ended with UCR winning the first set, 26-24.
There was a clear switch of energy on the Anteaters’ part during the second set as they claimed an early 8-3 lead. The Highlanders took a couple of timeouts and substituted a player, but they could not avoid losing the second set, 19-25.
The third set started with UCR gaining a point, but a quick lead change thanks to kills by sophomore Abby Marjama and freshman Onye Ofoegbu brought UCI up to a 14-8 point lead.
The Anteaters continued going strong throughout this set with powerful plays. Junior Loryn Carter made a kill that brought UCI up to a 17-14 lead.
At this point, UCR took another timeout and substituted another player. It did look as though they could catch up, but a kill from freshman Joy Umeh widened the gap again and the Anteaters were able to claim the set, 25-20.
Umeh had a career high of 11 kills during this game and largely contributed to UCI’s success.
The fourth set had the score tied nine times, the most out of the whole game. UCI started strong and an ace serve by freshman Kelly Negron put the team in the lead, 9-8. UCR kept catching up throughout the set. Umeh dove for the ball in a maximum effort to get it over the net, but UCR could only tie again 16-16. After a few timeouts by both teams, UCI picked up the pace again. The Anteaters won the game with the set ending 25-21, winning three out of the four sets.