Stockton, Calif. -- Second-ranked UC Irvine defeated No. 12 Pacific, 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-17, 25-19) at the Alex G. Spanos Center Friday night.
The Anteaters improve to 13-3 overall and 9-3 in the MPSF will battle No. 2 Stanford (13-3, 10-2) tomorrow (Mar. 3) at 7:00 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.
A trio of Anteaters recorded double-figure kills led by junior outside hitter Kevin Tillie with 19 kills, hitting .516 (19-3-31) and recording two aces and a career-best nine digs. Senior opposite Carson Clark had 17 kills followed by sophomore outside hitter Jeremy Dejno with 14 kills, three aces and eight digs. Senior middle blocker Dan McDonnell posted eight kills and six total blocks, while junior setter Chris Austin posted 56 set assists and five kills. Freshman libero Michael Brinkley had a match-high 11 digs.
Pacific (5-12, 3-9 MPSF) was led by Taylor Hughes with 17 kills and Florian Gornik with 13 kills.
The Anteaters out-hit (.412-.214), out-dug (41-30), out-served (6-2) and out-blocked (9.0-6.5) the Tigers.
In the first set, UCI used consecutive kills by Scott Kevorken, Kevin Tillie and Jeremy Dejno to take a 7-3 lead. Pacific would score three staright late to close within 23-18, but a service error and another kill by Dejno gave UCI the set, 25-18. The Anteaters hit .448, committing just three errors.
Pacific led 3-2 in the second set before UCI out-scored the Tigers, 6-1, which included back-to-back aces by Dejno, to give the Anteaters the 9-4 advantage. Pacific rallied down 10-7 on a 6-2 run and tied the set at 13-13. With the score knotted at 20-20, Tillie would have a kill and join Kevorken in a block to sneak ahead 22-20. UCI had set point 24-22, but watched Pacific score the last four points to give the Tigers the set, 27-25.
A kill by Tillie, a block by Kevorken and Chris Austin and another ace by Dejno put UCI ahead 8-5 in the third set. The Anteaters would go on to take the set 25-17.
UCI jumped out to a 5-0 start in the fourth set on kills by Tillie and Dejno, a pair of blocks and a Tiger attack error. Consecutive kills by Clark, Tillie and Dejno extended the lead to 8-2. The Tigers would score four unanswered to narrow the UCI lead to 11-10, but a kill by Tillie stopped the streak, 12-10. A kill by Clark was followed by a Tillie ace to give UCI a cushion they would not relinquish as the Anteaters would end the set on a kill by Dejno, 25-19.