Balanced attack gives No. 3 UC Irvine victory against Cal State Northridge
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -– A trio of UC Irvine players recorded double-figure kills to lead the Anteaters to a 3-1 victory against Cal State Northridge at the Matadome on Wednesday.
With the win, third-ranked UCI stops a three-match losing streak and goes to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the MPSF. The No. 9 Matadors are 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the MPSF.
UC Irvine All-American outside hitter Kevin Tillie led all players with 17 kills, while recording eight digs. Opposite Connor Hughes put away a season-high 13 kills followed by outside hitter Jeremy Dejno with 12 kills and two aces. Middle blockers Collin Mehring and Scott Kevorken had seven and six kills, respectively. Setter Daniel Stork made his second start and recorded 42 set assists and five digs. Libero Michael Brinkley had six digs.
Brandon Lebrock was the lone Matador with double-figure kills, posting 15. Kyle Stevenson had a match-high 10 digs.
In the first set, consecutive kills by Collin Mehring, Connor Hughes and Kevin Tillie put UCI in front 19-16. Cal State Northridge would respond with the next four points to push ahead 20-19. Another kill by Mehring would knot the score at 21-21, but the Matadors would get back-to-back kills by Drew Staker for the 23-21 lead. CSUN would win the set 25-23.
UCI jumped out quickly 4-0 and 6-1 in the second set. Northridge would get as close as 14-12 before the Matadors would have three consecutive errors to help the Anteater to 17-12 advantage. UCI evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-19 win.
UCI led 17-15 in the third set and took advantage of a Northridge service error, a block by Hughes and Mehring, a kill by Tillie and another Matador attack error to open the cushion to 21-15. A kill by Dejno closed the set, 25-20.
In the fourth set, two consecutive kills by Tillie gave UCI a 7-3 lead. The Anteaters would control the rest of the set, winning 25-13 and the match 3-1.
UCI hit .737 (15-1-19) in the final set.