No. 8 UC Irvine Takes Down No. 5 Pepperdine, 3-1


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Irvine, Calif. - Ryan Ammerman had a career-high 40 set assists to lead No. 8 UC Irvine to a 3-1 (25-30, 30-23, 30-25, 30-28) victory over No. 5 Pepperdine Wednesday at the Bren Events Center.

UCI improves to 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, sweeping the season series with Pepperdine for the first time since 1995. Pepperdine goes to 5-4 overall and in conference play.

Ammerman posted a career-best 11 digs and career-high five block assists to go with the 40 set assists. Jon Steller recorded a season-high 21 kills and nine digs, while freshman Cory Yoder and Kevin Carroll each had 15 kills in the win. Yoder also recorded a career-high nine digs. Senior middle blocker Aaron Harrell recorded a career-high 10 block assists to go with six kills. Freshman middle blocker Kevin Wynne added seven blocks, while libero Brent Asuka totaled 13 digs.

The Anteaters recorded a season-high 17.5 blocks, while the Anteaters 59 digs was the second most this season.

Cory Riecks led Pepperdine with 15 kills followed by Matt McKee with 11 and J.D. Schleppenbach with 10 kills. Jonathan Winder totaled 45 set assists and a match-high 16 digs. Mark Hulse had a team-high eight blocks, while libero Sean Grubbs added eight digs.

In game one, Pepperdine made a move after leading 11-10, scoring three unanswered points to extend the lead to 14-10. UCI narrowed the margin to 27-25, but the Waves would score three in a row to take the game, 30-25.

With the score tied 19-19 in game two, UCI went on an 8-2 run to go up 27-21. The Anteaters, who used three blocks and a pair of kills by Jon Steller in that run, ended the game on another Steller kill, 30-23.

Pepperdine led 19-16 in game three before the Anteaters went on an 8-1 spurt, which included back-to-back kills by Kevin Wynne to go ahead 24-20. Both teams combined for five service errors in the last 11 points as UCI went on to take the set, 30-25. UCI hit just .171 in the game, but the Waves hit -.097.

Game four was all Pepperdine as the Waves led 23-17. UCI would rally, out-scoring Pepperdine 6-1 to narrow the deficit to 24-23. Aaron Harrell had three consecutive blocks assists in that flurry. Another Steller kill tied the game at 26-26 and the Anteaters took their first lead of the game on a block by Jordan DuFault, 27-26. An Anteater attack error was followed by a Wave service error and attack error to give UCI match point, 29-27. Eric Liebert would put away a kill for Pepperdine before a block by Cory Yoder and Kevin Wynne sealed the victory, 30-28.

UCI will battle No. 11 USC Friday (Feb. 8) at 7:00 p.m. at the Bren Center. The team's National Championship banner will be unveiled at 6:55 prior to the start of the match.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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