No. 9 UC Irvine Upsets No. 2 Cal State Northridge


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Irvine, Calif. - The ninth-ranked UC Irvine men's volleyball team upset No. 2 Cal State Northridge, 3-1 (28-30, 30-24, 42-40, 30-18) in the regular season home finale at the Bren Center Tuesday.

The Anteaters snap Northridge's 14-match winning streak and even their record to 13-13 overall and go to 9-10 in the MPSF, while the league-leading Matadors go to 20-5 overall and 15-4 in the MPSF.

Opposite Jon Steller led all players with 27 kills and a career-high seven block assists. Freshman outsie hitter Jordan DuFault added 16 kills, his second highest career kill total, a career-high 12 digs and a career-best seven block assists. Middle blockers Aaron Harrell and Kevin Wynne each recorded seven kills and a team-high eight block assists with Harrell adding a solo for a match-high nine total blocks. Libero Brent Asuka tied his season-high with 18 digs, while outside hitter Kevin Carroll came off the bench to play solid defense with seven digs to go with four kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Setter Anthony Spittle recorded 55 set assists and a career-high six blocks.

The Anteaters dominated the net, out-blocking Northridge 21-7.5. The 21 blocks was the second most for UCI this season.

Northridge had a balanced attack led by Isaac Knewubuhl and Eric Vance with 17 kills apiece. Kevin McKniff added 15 kills and Mike Gaudino recorded 11 kills. Libero Ali'i Keohohou led the team with 11 digs.

UCI led 10-8 early in game one, but Northridge battled back to take their first lead at 12-11. The Matadors would continue to lead opening up a 24-19 advantage on a kill by Mike Gaudino. The Anteaters rallied to close with 28-27 on a Jon Steller kill, but the teams would trade points until Northridge's Isaac Knewubuhl ended the game with a kill 30-28. The two teams combined for 19 service errors in the first game.

UCI used a 7-1 run to take control of game two, leading 27-20. The Anteaters would go on to take the game 30-24 on a Steller kill.

Cal State Northridge had a 15-11 advantage in game three and continued to lead at 23-21. UCI would score three unanswered to take the 24-23 lead. UCI would go ahead 28-26 on a pair of Steller kills and led 29-27 before the Matadors used kills by Kevin McKniff and Eric Vance to knot the score at 29-29. The marathon would begin with each team trading points until 40-40 when Aaron Harrell put away a kill in the middle was followed by a Matador attack that sailed wide to give UCI the game, 42-40, the longest game in UCI history and the third highest score in MPSF history. The top two (45-43, 43-41) also involved Northridge.

Game four was all UCI as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead and never looked back taking the set 30-18 and the match, 3-1. UCI hit .480 in the game compared to Northridge's .083.

UCI travels to No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. match at Robertson Gym.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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