No. 1 UC Irvine Rallies To Beat No. 6 BYU


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PROVO, Utah - Senior Taylor Wilson was the catalyst as No. 1 UC Irvine mounted a gritty comeback to win the fourth set and defeat No. 6 BYU, 3-1 (30-28, 26-30, 30-27, 30-27) at Smith Fieldhouse in front of 3,878 fans.

UCI mounted an epic comeback in the fourth set trailing 20-13. UCI hung around and was down 24-19 before Taylor Wilson, who came in midway thru the set, recorded a kill then stepped back to the service line and the Anteaters blocked three consecutive balls to trail 24-23. Wilson put away another kill then UCI locked down the net once more with a Ryan Ammerman solo block to take its first lead of the game, 25-24. A BYU attack error followed to give UCI a 26-24 cushion. Jordan DuFault and two Carson Clark kills countered three Cougar kills to set up match point, 29-27. Wilson knocked a kill off the block for the set, 30-27 and the win, 3-1.

The Anteaters improve to 20-4 overall and 15-3 in the MPSF, while BYU goes to 15-10 on the year and 11-7 in league play. UCI improved to 8-2 on the road this season.

UCI was led by freshman Carson Clark with a match-high 21 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Jordan DuFault added 11 kills and recorded a match and season-high 13 digs. Middle blocker Kevin Wynne totaled 10 kills, two solo blocks and six block assists, while outside hitter Cory Yoder, who made his first start of the year, tallied 10 kills which tied his season-high to go with a season-best seven digs and career-high five block assists. Freshman middle blocker Austin D'Amore had a team-high eight block assists and four kills. Outside hitter Taylor Wilson hit .500 with three kills in six swings in the final set. Setter Ryan Ammerman recorded 57 set assists and four blocks, while libero Brent Asuka collected 10 digs.

The Anteaters, the nation's best blocking team, held a slight advantage at the net out-blocking BYU 18.5 to 18. UCI's 18.5 blocks is tied for the most this season. For the match, UCI hit .226 while the Cougars hit .141.

Alex DaPron led BYU with 16 kills followed by Kent Tuttle with 12 kills. Futi Tavana recorded a match-high nine block assists, while libero Joel Silva totled 11 digs in the loss.

In the first set, UCI used a 5-2 run which was capped by a dig that landed for a kill to open a 13-8 advantage. The Anteaters held its largest lead, 23-16, on another dig for a kill before BYU rallied to close within 25-24 on one of UCI's eight service errors in the set. BYU would tied the score at 28-28 before Carson Clark would record a kill and a BYU attack error sailed long for a 30-28 UCI victory.

The teams remained close in the second set until a call was reversed in favor of BYU that started a 3-0 spurt by the Cougars to take a 12-9 lead. UCI tied the set at 18-18 on a block by Cory Yoder and Kevin Wynne only to watch BYU go on a 6-0 run to give the Cougars a 24-18 cushion. UCI would make it interesting with four straight to close to 29-26 but another Anteater service error gave the set to BYU, 30-26.

UCI opened an 18-15 lead on a triple block but BYU had a UCI service error plus consecutive kills and a block to go ahead 19-18. After the teams traded a pair of points, the Anteaters returned the favor with a kill by Clark, a pair of blocks and a Cougar attack that was wide to take back the lead, 24-21. UCI would not relinquish the lead again and win the set 30-27.

UC Irvine returns to Irvine for its final two regular season home matches, entertaining USC Wednesday (Apr. 8) and Pepperdine Saturday (Apr. 11). Both matches begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Bren Center.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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