May 9, 2009
Provo, Utah - UC Irvine captured the men's volleyball national championship with 3-2 (26-30, 30-23, 26-30, 30-17, 15-12) victory over USC at Smith Fieldhouse Saturday.
It is the second national championship in three years for the Anteaters who end the season 27-5 overall.
"That was an epic battle," head coach John Seraw said. "When we were down 2-1 some teams would pack it in, but this team didn't."
Senior setter Ryan Ammerman was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after recording a career-high 13 total blocks, 55 set assists and tied his career-high with six kills. Ammerman had 12 block assists which ranks tied for third in the UCI match record books. Senior Taylor Wilson and freshman Carson Clark were named to the All-Tournament team after recording 21 and 15 kills, respectively. Sophomore Jordan DuFault added 14 kills and a team-high 11 digs. Middle blocker Kevin Wynne hit .556 (6-1-9), had two aces and three blocks. Middle blocker Bryan Simmons came off the bench and recorded seven block assists and hit .800 (4-0-5) in two sets.
The Anteaters recorded a season-high 20.5 blocks to USC's 7.5. The Anteaters had just 11 service errors while USC had 22.
USC was led by Murphy Troy with a match-high 26 kills. Tony Ciarelli and Austin Zahn each added 15 kills while Tri Bourne had 12 kills in the loss.
The team will be arriving at John Wayne Airport on Delta at 12:08 Sunday if fans want to greet the team in baggage claim.
The teams remained close in the first set until USC used two Anteater attack errors to take a 22-20 lead. That was all the cushion the Trojans would need as they took the set 30-26. UCI hit just .219.
The score was tied 8-8 before UCI went on a 10-4 run which included a pair of aces from Kevin Wynne and three blocks, the last a solo by Wynne to give the Anteaters the 18-12 lead. UCI would record 8.5 blocks in the set on their way to a 30-22 victory
USC jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set. UCI rallied to close within 20-18 on a pair of Wilson kills, but a service error stopped the Anteater momentum. UCI closed the gap to 27-26 on a D'Amore and Ammerman block, but USC scored three straight to end the set 30-26.
In the fourth set, UCI went on a 4-0 spurt which included kills by Ammerman and Bryan Simmons and was capped by a Simmons and DuFault block to put the Anteaters ahead 8-3. UCI blew open the set with a 10-1 run to stretch the lead to 27-12. The run included four blocks. UC I cruised to a 30-17 win to force a fifth game.
UCI jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead but USC was able to tie it at 3 all. With the teams tied at 6-6, USC used kills by Murphy Troy and Tony Ciarelli to give the Trojans the 8-6 advantage. UCI battled back with a USC service error and a service ace by Jon Steller to knot the score at 8-8. The teams traded points and with the score tied at 10-10, UCI got a kill from Wilson and a block by Ammerman and Simmons followed by a Trojan swing that went wide to take the 13-10 lead. A kill by Murphy Troy was followed by a kill by Simmons (14-11). Following a Trojan point, DuFault put away a winner, 15-12.