LONG BEACH, Calif — No. 2 UC Irvine downed No. 3 Long Beach State, 3-1 (25-23, 29-27, 23-25, 25-22) at the Walter Pyramid Saturday.
With the win, UCI, who improves to 16-4 overall and 13-4 in the MPSF, picks up three points in the Black & Blue Rivalry Series. The Anteaters now lead the series 16-13. Long Beach State goes to 14-5 on the year and 12-4 in the MPSF.
All-American outside hitter Kevin Tillie posted a season-high 23 kills and nine digs, to lead UCI while outside hitter Jeremy Dejno tied his season-high with 21 kills. Setter Daniel Stork totaled a season-best 62 set assists and a career-best 12 digs. Opposite Zack La Cavera added nine kills and career-high nine digs and libero Michael Brinkley had a match-high 19 digs. Middle blockers Scott Kevorken and Collin Mehring added eight and seven kills, respectively.
Long Beach State’s Taylor Crabb had a match-high 24 kills and 15 digs. Dalton Ammerman recorded 13 kills and 12 digs. Connor Olbright tallied 46 set assists and nine digs in the loss.
In the first set the score was tied at 21-21 before a pair of Kevin Tillie kills was followed by a kill by Collin Mehring to put UCI ahead 24-21. A kill by Taylor Crabb delayed the set which was ended by Tillie, 25-23.
Kills by Crabb and Dalton Ammerman gave Long Beach State a 20-17 advantage in the second set. UCI rallied on a kills by Zack La Cavera and Tillie and two Forty-Niner attack errors to take a 21-20 lead. The Anteaters had set point 24-22, but two consecutive UCI attack errors knotted the set at 24-24. The teams would trade points until the set was won by UCI on a block by Tillie and Mehring and a Long Beach State attack error, 29-27.
Long Beach State controlled the third set jumping out to an 8-3 lead. The Anteaters chipped away and closed to 18-17 on a Forty-Niner attack that sailed long. LBSU was up 19-18 and used two UCI errors for a 22-19 lead. The Anteaters rallied again to narrow the lead to 22-21 on a La Cavera kill. UCI could not get over the hump as the teams would side out and LBSU would win 25-23.
Kills by La Cavera and Tillie and a back row violation by Long Beach put UCI in front 15-12 in the fourth set. The Anteaters held a 17-15 lead before the Forty-Niners rallied to catch UCI at 23-23 on a kill by Taylor Gregory. A kill by Dejno, a roll shot by Tillie and a Crabb attack that went wide gave UCI