- #7 UC Irvine def. #6 UCLA 3-2 (25-23, 28-26, 22-25, 21-25, 17-15
- UCIrvine moves to 10-5 (7-4 MPSF); UCLA falls to 10-7 (7-6 MPSF)
- Bren Center, Irvine, California
- Attendance: 2,253
- Match Stats
The 6th-ranked UCLA Bruins, who continue to battle injuries, were felled in 3 sets on Saturday after a furious comeback attempt.
While UCLA has its top outside hitter Jake Arnitz back and playing well (13 kills, 3 errors, 25 attacks, .500 percentage), Mitch Stahl has returned to the bench with a recurrent injury. Christian Hessenauer stepped up for the Bruins with a season-high 16 kills, but it wasn’t enough to fight back against UC Irvine.
UCI was led by 23 kills from Tamir Hershko (.438 percentage) and 18 more from Thomas Hodges (.286 percentage). They were beat in most of the major statistical categories in the game, including being out-hit .354-.344 and out-blocked 12.5-4, but not the one that mattered: the final score.
After Irvine won the first two sets of the game, UCLA fought back to win the next 2 and even the score. That 3rd set is when Hessenauer came alive. He recorded 6 kills in the 3rd and 7 in the 4th to lead the comeback, but just a single score in the 5th and deciding frame left the Bruins short.
The game, which saw a substantial crowd, was UCI’s annual “Think Pink” game to support breast cancer awareness. The team honored Tee Sohacki, a two-time breast cancer survivor, before the match.
For UCLA, this is a 6th loss in 7 games after being ranked #2 in the nation early in the year, though thus far the run of defeats hasn’t cost them much in the AVCA rankings.
Full Match Replay, Courtesy UC Irvine Athletics: