- #7 UC Irvine def. UC Santa Barbara 3-2, (25-23, 25-27, 18-25, 28-26, 18-16)
- UC Irvine improves to 11-5, 8-4 MPSF
- UC Santa Barbara falls to 7-9, 4-9 MPSF
- Hosted by UC Irvine
- Match results
UC Irvine remains undefeated in five set matches with a victory over #13 UC Santa Barbara. This is the second match in a row for the Anteaters where they have gone to five.
The Anteaters started the match off with a first set win, but lost focus to drop the next two, falling behind in the match 1-2. In the fourth set, UC Irvine battled through extra points to propel the match into a five and deciding set.
In the fifth set, UC Irvine was down 12-8 but went on a 7-2 run to take take the lead at 15-14. Two blocks and two kills from Stadick helped the Anteaters in the run. Service errors from UC Irvine threatened the match, but back-to-back kills from Tamir Hershko secured the victory, 18-16.
Four UC Irvine players produced double-digit kills – Tamir Hershko (19, .417 hitting percentage), Thomas Hodges (14, .370 hitting percentage), Scott Stadick (13, .500 hitting percentage) and Aaron Koubi (11, .217 hitting percentage). Stadick also blocked eight balls while Michael Saeta added five kills, five digs and five blocks. In the back court, Dillon Hoffman picked up 11 digs.
Leading UC Santa Barbara, Jacob Delson dominated in the front row with a career-best 34 kills on a .375 hitting percentage. Keenan Sanders added another 14 kills on a .632 hitting percentage. In the back court, Parker Boehle picked up a match-best 12 digs while Connor Drake blocked eight balls.
Courtesy of UC Irvine Athletics
No. 7 UC Irvine remained undefeated in five-set matches as they rallied to beat No. 13 UC Santa Barbara, 3-2 (25-23, 25-27, 18-25, 28-26, 18-16) at Crawford Court Saturday.
The Anteaters are a perfect 6-0 when going the distance, which they have done on back-to-back nights. UCI improves to 11-5 overall and 8-4 in the MPSF. UCSB goes to 7-9 on the year and 4-9 in the MPSF.
UCI had four players with double-digit kills led by Tamir Hershko with 19 kills, while hitting .417. Thomas Hodges followed with 14 kills, Scott Stadick had a career-high 13 kills and eight block assists and Aaron Koubi matched his career-high with 11 kills. Dillon Hoffman had a team-best 11 digs, while Michael Saeta had 48 set assists, five kills and five block assists Matthew Younggren hit .625 with five kills on eight attempts.
The Anteaters out-blocked the Gauchos 12-9 and survived despite recording 31 serving errors.
After falling behind 2-1 in sets and trailing 14-19 in the fourth game, UCI mounted a comeback. At 17-21, a kill by Thomas Hodges was followed by an ace by Scott Stadick and three straight UCSB errors, one on a solo block by Aaron Koubi to move UCI in front 22-21.UCSB had match-point three times before three consecutive Gaucho errors handed UCI a 28-26 victory and a chance to keep playing.
UCI trailed 12-8 in the fifth set before they went on a 7-2 run to go up 15-14. Two blocks and two kills by Stadick helped the Anteaters in that run. Two Anteater service errors put the match in jeopardy, but back-to-back kills by Hershko secured the victory, 18-16,
UCI will hit the road for the entire month of March, beginning with a quick trip to Long Beach State Wednesday (Mar. 1).
Courtesy of UC Santa Barbara
Senior outside hitter Jacob Delson had 34 kills in Saturday night’s MPSF contest at No. 7 UC Irvine, the most by a Gaucho hitter since Jeff Menzel on Feb. 12, 2010, but it proved to be not enough as No. 13 UC Santa Barbara dropped an extremely close five-set decision to the host Anteaters; 25-23, 25-27, 18-25, 28-26, 18-16.
Three of five sets at the Bren Center required extra points, and all but one were decided by just two points.
Besides Delson’s historic effort, UCSB (7-9, 4-9 MPSF) received standout efforts from middle blockers Keenan Sanders (14 kills on .632 hitting) and Connor Drake (match-high eight blocks), while sophomore opposite Corey Chavers had a pair of aces and eight kills.
Senior libero Parker Boehle was also on his game in the back row, posting 12 digs for his third double-digit dig performance of the month.
UCSB hit a solid .313 for the match, but was edged out by UCI’s (11-5, 8-4) .388 clip. Four different Anteaters posted 10 or more kills on Saturday, led by Tamir Hershko‘s 19.
Hershko was the X-factor for UCI in the decisive fifth set, posting seven vital kills and leading a late comeback for the hosts.
After four tight sets, UCSB maintained a modest advantage through most of the fifth, resulting in a 14-12 lead and two match points. However, Hershko notched a key kill and then went to the service line and set up another two points for his team, smashing down a kill to take the lead at 15-14.
A Hershko service error knotted the score again, and the team’s traded points to bring it to 16-16. At that point, Hershko ripped back-to-back kills to seal the game and the match for UCI.
UCSB played its best volleyball in the second and third sets, winning each to erase a one-game deficit and take the lead 2-1.
It was Delson and Sanders who led UCSB in the second, with the former grabbing eight kills and the latter six. Delson was especially key down the stretch, notching back-to-back kills on UCI set points to even the score at 24-24. Sanders then put his stamp on the action with a block (assisted by setter Randy DeWeese), later adding a quick hit to set up game point for the Gauchos. With Sanders serving, Delson and Drake came up with a huge block on a Scott Stadick swing, tying it at one set apiece.
The Gauchos dominated in set number three, winning by seven points, by far the largest margin of the night. An early 8-3 run gave the Gauchos all the cushion they would need for the set, as they hit a solid .345 for the frame.
UCSB once again had a chance to win it in a tightly-contested fourth game, with one of Hayden Boehle‘s four kills on the night setting up match point at 26-25, but the Anteaters stormed back with three straight points to send it to the fifth.
The Gauchos next week travel to Happy Valley for non-conference matches against Penn State on Friday and Lees-McRae on Saturday, both at PSU’s Rec Hall. This will be UCSB’s first contest against the Nittany Lions since the National Championship title match in 2011.
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