Loretto, Penn. – Senior Thomas Hodges led sixth-ranked UC Irvine in a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-15) sweep of Saint Francis at the DeGol Arena Wednesday.
Hodges, an outside hitter, led UCI (13-6) with 12 kills, three digs and two blocks. Outside hitter Tamir Hershko followed with nine kills. Middle blocker Scott Stadick posted six kills and six total blocks, while Michael Saeta, Aaron Koubi and Matthew Younggren each had five kills. Libero Dillon Hoffman had a match-high seven digs.
UCI held a 7-0 block advantage and out-hit Saint Francis .350-.119.
Adam Kniffen topped the Red Flash (8-12) with 12 kills and six digs.
With the score tied 6-6, a pair of kills by Matthew Younggren and one by Tamir Hershko was followed an ace by Thomas Hodges to take a 10-6 lead and force a Saint Francis timeout. Back-to-back kills by Younggren and Hodges extended the lead to 18-12. The Anteaters would lead 23-18 before SFU would score five of the next six points to creep within 24-23, causing UCI to call a timeout. A Saint Francis attack error would end the set, 25-23 for the Anteaters.
The Red Flash took an early 4-7 lead in the second set. UCI would respond with the next eight points, including a pair of kills by Hershko and an ace by Younggren, 12-7. Consecutive aces by Michael Saeta bumped the lead to 15-9. A 4-0 run which was capped by an ace by Tucker Pikula built a 22-11 advantage. For the second consecutive game, UCI wins on a SFU error, 25-17.
UCI jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the third on kills by Hersko and Hodges and a kill and block by Stadick. The Flash got within 12-10, before UCI went on a 5-2 spurt to lead 17-12 and then three straight to take a 22-14 advantage. Another Saint Francis error, gave UCI the set 25-15 and the match 3-0.
The Anteaters will travel to Columbus, Ohio to face No. 12 Ball State Friday at 3:00 p.m. PT and No. 1 Ohio State Saturday (Mar. 10) at 5:00 p.m.