ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- Libero Kristin Winkler set a UC Irvine single-match record with a career-high 34 digs and several Anteaters posted personal-highs as UCI came from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Portland State 3-2 (19-25, 28-30, 26-24, 25-21, 15-13) Saturday at the Comcast/Sheraton Lobo Invitational. With the win UCI snaps a three-match losing streak and pulls even to 4-4 on the year.
Winkler, who had tied the third-highest record with 31 digs against New Mexico Friday, led six Anteaters in double-figure digs. Shannon Fleming delivered a career-best 11 solo blocks to tie for the second-highest mark in UCI match history. Aly Squires also had a career day with 26 kills and 20 digs while Molly Yoder also picked up a career-high with 22 digs. Shaina Olsen notched a personal-best 14 digs while adding 14 kills. Pauline Acres matched her career-high of six blocks, posted Friday, with six more blocks in the winning effort today and Marissa Alvarez chipped in a double-double effort with 29 assist and 10 digs.
The Anteaters found themselves trailing 10-5 in the first set following a kill from Cara Olden and four consecutive UCI attack errors. The Pilot lead expanded to six at 16-10 and then 18-12 but UCI rattled off three straight points to trim the lead to three at 18-15. That would be as close as the team would come as Portland State used its own three-point rally to reach set point at 24-18 and would close the door on a kill from Katie O'Brien.
Portland State held a three-point edge early in the second set at 8-5 but the Anteaters would quickly even the score at 9-9. The Pilots began to pull away, scoring on three consecutive plays to assume an 18-15 advantage and would work the lead to four at 22-18 on a service ace by Megan Ellis. Acres and Squires paired up to deny Cheyne Corrado at the net, kicking off a three-point run by UCI to close the gap to one at 22-21 and would tie the score at 23 points apiece on a block from Olsen and Alexandra Hauser. The teams would push the frame into extra points and at 28-28 a block on the Anteaters was followed by a ball-handling error as PSU took a two-set lead.
UCI came out of the intermission and jumped on the Pilots to take a solid 18-11 lead. An ace from Squires extended UCI's advantage to 20-12 but Portland State would whittle the score down to 20-15 on a pair of unforced errors by the Anteaters. The Pilots closed the gap again, this time to two points at 22-20 and would catch UCI at 23-23. After trading points, UCI took the advantage on a kill from Alvarez and Acres and Fleming keyed the Anteater win with the block on Corrado.
The momentum continued for UCI in the fourth set as the Anteaters used a 10-1 run to build a 19-9 lead with Squires putting away four kills in the run. The Pilots managed to cut the deficit to three points at 24-21 but Squires came through again with the final kill for UCI to force the fifth set.
Portland State's Garyn Schlatter and O'Brien came up with back-to-back blocks early to give the Pilots a 5-3 lead in the deciding set. However, the Anteater block responded as Fleming paired up first with Squires and then with Acres to highlight a five-point rally, giving UCI an 8-5 edge. Following the side change, UCI opened the lead to five at 13-8 on an ace from Acres and an attack error by Domi Kristinikova. The Pilots did not go away, erasing the lead to one at 13-12 but was unable to capitalize as a service error by Kaeli Patton gave UCI match point at 14-12. An unforced error by Squires pulled the Pilots to within one again but Squires rebounded with the put-away to give UCI the come-from-behind win.