Irvine, Calif. – Junior setter Chris Austin guided No. 4 UC Irvine to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-23) victory over No. 15 Cal State Northridge Wednesday at the Bren Events Center.
UCI improves to 11-3 overall and 7-3 in the MPSF, while Cal State Northridge drops to 4-9 on the year and 2-7 in league matches.
Austin guided the Anteaters to a .458 (46-8-83) hitting percentage for the match and totaled a career-high 41 set assists. Senior opposite Carson Clark hit .577, committing just one attack error and recording a team-best 16 kills. Junior outside hitter Kevin Tillie had 13 kills and a career-high eight digs. Senior middle blocker Dan McDonnell posted a career-high six block assists to go with four kills and two aces. Sophomore Jeremy Dejno had seven kills, five digs and three blocks, while middle blocker Scott Kevorken added six kills and three blocks. Libero Michael Brinkley posted a career-high 12 digs.
The Anteaters out-blocked the Matadors 9.5-3.5 and had five aces to Northridge's 3.
UCI started the first set with an 8-2 lead, which included aces by Kevin Tillie, Dan McDonnell and Carson Clark. The Anteaters would hit .667 (15-1-21) and cruised to a 25-15 win.
In the second set, Cal State Northridge led 16-13 before UCI scored six straight, which included three kills by Clark to jump ahead 19-16. That was all the separation UCI would need as they went on to a 25-22 victory.
The Anteaters once again found themselves behind in the third set, trailing 17-14. A rally was started by back-to-back UCI blocks and was capped by a Tillie kill and a Matador attack error to give the Anteaters a 20-19 lead. With the score tied at 21-21, UCI used a kill by Jeremy Dejno and a block by Clark and Scott Kevorken to take the 23-21 edge. Following a John Baker kill for Northirdge, Kevorken had a kill after a good dig to keep the ball alive to give the Anteaters match point 24-22. UCI had a service error before Kevorken had the match-winner from the middle, 25-23.
The Anteaters will battle No. 9 Long Beach State Friday (Feb. 24) at 7:00 p.m. at the Bren Center. Friday's match is part of the Black & Blue Rivalry Series presented by Duke's of Huntington Beach.