Clark Ignites No. 2 UC Irvine To 3-1 Win Over No. 6 Long Beach State
IRVINE, Calif. - Freshman Carson Clark pounded 21 kills off the bench to lead No. 2 UC Irvine past No. 6 Long Beach State, 3-1 (30-27, 23-30, 33-31, 33-31) at Bren Events Center Friday.
Clark led the Anteaters with 21 kills, hitting .581 (21-3-31). He also recorded five total blocks and an ace. Jordan DuFault was the only other Anteater in double-figure kills with 17, which ties his season-high. Bryan Simmons came off the bench to record six kills and five blocks in three sets. Setter Ryan Ammerman tallied 59 set assists, five digs and three blocks, while libero Brent Asuka had 11 digs. Jon Steller and Taylor Wilson had five kills and Kevin Wynne and Cory Yoder added four kills each. Wynne also recorded five blocks.
The Anteaters out-blocked Long Beach, 16-11.5, but the Forty-Niners out-hit .262-.253 and out-dug, 65-35 UCI. The Anteaters committed 24 service errors to LBSU's 19.
Long Beach State's Josh Riley had a match-high 23 kills followed by Dean Bittner with 21 kills and 11 digs and Tommy Pestolesi with 16 kills. Mike Klipsch had 62 set assists and 10 digs. Dustin Watten had a match-high 19 digs in the loss.
Long Beach State jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set. A kill by Taylor Wilson and and solo block by Jon Steller got UCI on the scoreboard. A block by Austin D'Amore and Ryan Ammerman was followed by an ace by Steller to knot the score at 5-5. The teams remained within two points of each other and were tied 22-22 when a UCI attack error was followed by a kill by Josh Riley to give The Beach a 24-22 advantage. LBSU continued to lead 26-24 before the Anteaters used a Forty-Niner service error followed by block by Kevin Wynne and Carson Clark to knot the score at 26-26. Jordan DuFault's serve went into the net then Clark recorded a kill which was followed by three consecutive Long Beach attack errors, the last a block by D'Amore and Wilson to give UCI the 30-27 victory.
In the second set, the Forty-Niners led 12-11 and out-scored UCI, 5-2 to take a 17-13 lead. The Anteaters would get no closer than two the rest of the way as LBSU won the set, 30-23. UCI hit .000 (8-8-38) and had eight service errors.
Clark was the key to the third set for UCI. He served three straight points, including an ace to give UCI the18-15 lead. With UCI leading 19-17, Long Beach State's Dan Alexander fired a ball that went off a UCI passer and Clark went flying over the scorer's table landing on his head. After UCI called a timeout to clear the freshman's cobwebs, Clark then responded by putting away four kills to give the Anteaters the 23-21 lead. UCI led 28-26 late only to watch the Forty-Niners tie the set at 28-28 on a kill by Tommy Pestolesi. The teams traded points until 31-31 when Kevin Wynne and Cory Yoder rejected a ball and a LBSU attack floated long to give UCI the win, 33-31. Clark had nine kills in the set to lead the Anteaters.
UCI led 27-24 before The Beach scored three unanswered to tie the fourth set at 27 all. The teams traded points until a kill by Jordan DuFault was followed by a Long Beach ball that went long to give the Anteaters the set, 33-31 and the match 3-1.
UCI improves to 14-3 overall and remains on top of the MPSF with a 10-2 record, while Long Beach goes to 8-6 on the year and 7-4 in league play.
UCI will host Loyola-Chicago Wednesday (Mar. 4) in a non-conference match at 7:00 p.m. in Crawford Court.
Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.