No. 2 UC Irvine wins five-set battle
Setter Austin contributes 60 assists in Anteaters' 20th win
MALIBU, Calif. – No. 2 UC Irvine outlasted No. 6 Pepperdine, 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 17-25, 15-12) at Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday.
UCI improves to 20-4 overall and 16-4 in the MPSF, while Pepperdine goes to 13-12 on the year and 8-11 in league action.
Senior opposite Carson Clark had a match-high 24 kills, which ties his season-high followed by sophomore outside hitter Jeremy Dejno with 13 kills and eight digs. Junior outside hitter Kevin Tillie recorded 12 kills and eight digs. Setter Chris Austin had a career-high 60 assists in the win.
Pepperdine was led by Maurice Torres with 21 kills, 15 digs and three aces. Scott Rhein added 11 kills, while Matt West had 47 assists and 13 digs.
Consecutive kills by Jeremy Dejno and Scott Kevorken gave UC Irvine a 10-6 lead in the first set. The Anteaters extended the lead to 15-9 on a stab dig by Brinkley that went to Chris Austin who had a one-handed running set to Kevin Tillie.for the kill. The Waves would score six unanswered points to close within 16-15, but a Wave attack error was followed by a Dejno kill to give UCI the 18-15 cushion. The Anteaters would win the set 25-22 behind seven Carson Clark kills.
In the second set, Dan McDonnell had a solo block on the left side then on the next point joined with Clark on the right side for another block to give UCI the 7-5 lead. An Anteater service error and a Wave block tied the set at 8-8. Neither team would hold more than a one-point lead until McDonnell took over recording another solo block and a block assist plus a kill to give UCI set point 24-21. A Dejno kill ended the set 25-22.
The Anteaters scored three unanswered on a Kevorken solo block, a Pepperdine error and a kill by Clark for an 11-9 lead in the third set. Pepperdine responded with the next two to knot it at 11-11. The teams remained close until the final two points when a UCI service error and a Pepperdine block by Matt West and Matt Pollock gave the set to the Waves, 25-23.
In the fourth set, Pepperdine gained a three-point lead 16-13 on a pair of kills by Scott Rhein and a UCI attack that sailed long. UCI would hit .000 (7-7-25) in the set and Pepperdine would win 25-17 to force a fifth set.
After a 5-5 tie, UCI out-scored Pepeprdine 4-1, which included three Wave errors to give UCI the 9-6 advantage. Back to-back kills by Clark and Tillie opened the lead to 12-8. UCI had match point 14-10 but Pepperdine battled back to close within 14-12 on a pair of Anteater attack errors. Clark would then put away the match winner, 15-12.