No. 4 UC Irvine Topples No. 9 UCLA, 3-1


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IRVINE, Calif. - The fourth-ranked UC Irvine men's volleyball team started slow then rolled to a 3-1 (20-30, 30-24, 30-17, 30-28) victory over No. 8 UCLA at the Bren Center Friday in front of 1,564 fans..

UCI improves to 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the MPSF, while UCLA falls to 4-5 on the year and 2-3 in league play.

The Anteaters used a solid team effort with Jon Steller recording 18 kills to lead UCI. Senior outside hitter Taylor Wilson had a season-high 17 kills and five blocks, while junior Jordan DuFault added nine kills, nine digs and four blocks. Middle blockers Bryan Simmons and Kevin Wynne recorded eight and seven kills, respectively with Simmons totaling a match-high seven blocks. Setter Ryan Ammerman quarterbacked the team to a .350 hitting percentage while dishing a season-high 53 set assists to go with nine digs and six blocks. Libero Nick Spittle led all players with a season-best 10 digs.

UCI out-blocked the Bruins, 15.5-10 and fired seven aces to UCLA's four.

UCLA's Garrett Muagututia had a match-high 22 kills and was followed by Jack Polales with nine kills. Setter Matt wade had 44 set assists and a team-high eight digs.

After being tied 15-15 in the first set, UCLA went on a 7-0 run which included four aces by Muagututia to open a 22-15 advantage on their way to the 30-20 victory.

In the second set, UCI led 19-17 before getting a pair of kills from Carson Clark and one each from Wilson and Wynne combined with two Bruin attack errors to break open the set, 25-17. Wilson would put away eight kills in the set to spark UCI. The Anteaters, who managed just one block in the first set, rejected 6.5 in the second.

UCI outscored UCLA 8-3 in a run which included four Anteater blocks to take a 20-12 lead in the third set and never looked back as they won 30-17.  Steller paced UCI with seven kills.

In the fourth set, UCI separated themselves with three straight points on a UCLA hitting error followed by a kill by Wilson and an ace by Steller to take the 15-12 lead. UCI maintained at least a two-point lead until the Bruins used three Muagututia kills to close within 29-28. Steller pounded a kill to end the match, 30-28.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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