ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- UC Irvine hit a season-high .314 as a team to hand the University of Montreal a 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-18, 25-11) loss in an exhibition match Saturday at the Comcast/Sheraton Lobo Invitational.
Middle blocker Arielle Manz shared the team lead in kills with 10, posting just one error in 21 attempts, and also delivered a career-high eight block assists. Outside hitter Shaina Olsen also recorded 10 kills while middle blocker Shannon Fleming was errorless in 20 tries, putting away nine kills for a .450 clip. Setter Mary Carls totaled 32 assists while Kristin Winkler notched a match-leading 15 digs.
UCI sped out to a 10-4 lead in the first set and would widen the margin to 10 points at 19-9 following a kill from Fleming. The Anteaters maintained control and Montreal would commit back-to-back unforced errors to end the first set.
The Anteaters' efficiency dipped in the second frame as the team hit a match-low .161. An ace from Winkler gave UCI a three-point edge at 10-7 but Montreal rallied to knot the score at 11-11. The two teams would keep the set close until at 21-21, Alexandra Lojen found Pamela Drapeau for the kill to kick off a three-point run, giving Montreal a 24-21 lead. Lojen would go to Drapeau again for the game-winning point to tie the match.
UCI rebounded and opened the third set with a 10-6 lead on an ace from Carls. Montreal scored four straight points to overtake the Anteaters at 13-12 but was unable to hang on as a kill and an ace from Hauser highlighted a three-point switch. UCI pulled away from a 17-17 tie on consecutive Anteater blocks and would claim a 21-17 lead. A Montreal kill from Sophie Bergeron briefly halted UCI's run but a pair of kills from Manz sandwiched a put-away from Olsen and Bergeron's attack error on set point would close out the frame.
It was all UCI in the final set as the Anteaters used a .400 hitting percentage to dispatch Montreal. UCI flew out to a 12-4 lead and cruised the remainder of the match, enjoying a 13-point lead at 17-4. Acres knocked down a ball on the overpass to give the team match point and Carls would find Hauser on the ensuing play for the win.
The Anteaters close out tournament action tonight at 4:00 p.m. (PT) against Portland State.