No. 1 UC Irvine Captures MPSF Regular Season Title With Win At Pacific


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STOCKTON, Calif. - No. 1 UC Irvine captured the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season title with a 3-0, (36-34, 30-17 30-23) victory over Pacific at the Spanos Center Saturday. 

With the victory, UC Irvine wins the MPSF regular season title with a 19-3 record, one game ahead of Pepperdine (18-4). It is the second time in program history the Anteaters have won the league's regular season title (2006) and will be the No. 1 seed for the MPSF Tournament.

Top-seeded UCI will take on No. 8 UCLA Saturday (Apr. 25) at the Bren Events Center at 7:00 p.m. The quarterfinal match has been declared a "Black-Out" and fans are encouraged to wear black, in particular black Eater Nation t-shirts which are worn by the UCI student section and will be available for purchase at the match. Partial proceeds from the sale of the "Black-Out Eater Nation" t-shirts go to the Adolescent and Young Adult cancer program at the UC Irvine Medical Center. 

No. 1 ranked UC Irvine improves to 24-4 overall, the second most wins in the country this year (Penn State, 25-3). Pacific closes out the year 3-28 overall and 0-22 in MPSF play.

Sophomore Cory Yoder led UCI with a season-high 15 kills, while hitting .583. Yoder committed just one attack error in 24 swings. Redshirt freshman Carson Clark came off the bench to record 10 kills and senior Taylor Wilson hit .500 with seven kills. Setter Ryan Ammerman played in two games with 27 set assists, three blocks and a team-best six digs. Middle blocker Austin D'Amore had six kills, an ace and three blocks, while middle blocker Bryan Simmons hit .571 (5-0-7) and added two blocks. Outside hitter Cole Reinholm added four kills, two aces and a block in two sets. Setter Anthony Spittle recorded 18 set assists and an ace in the win, while brother Nick had four digs.

Pacific's Jeff Hendershot had a match-high 25 kills and 10 digs. Mark Bauhs matches Hendershot with 10 digs, while Eric Fuchino tallied 43 set assists. Kevin Pratte added eight kills.

UCI hit .431 (54-10-102) compared to UOP's .248 (49-23-105). The Anteaters out-blocked the Tigers, 7.5-5. UCI had a nine service aces, the third highest total of the year.

UCI jumped out early in the first set with a 6-0 run which included a kill by Cory Yoder, three kills from Jon Steller and a kill and an ace from Taylor Wilson to take 12-5 lead. The Tigers made a run late with a 5-0 spurt on consecutive kills, an Anteater attack error and a block to close within 26-25. UOP tied the score at 27-27 and took their first lead of the match on a Sean Daley ace, 28-27. A kill by Austin D'Amore was followed by a block by D'Amore and Ammerman to put UCI back ahead 29-28. Following a Pacific timeout, the Tigers went back on top with back-to-back kills, 30-29. A kill by Yoder combined with a Wilson and Ammerman block gave UCI set point again (31-30) only to be denied by a service error and a kill by Jeff Hendershot, giving UOP the 32-31 advantage. The teams traded points until a Bryan Simmons kill was followed by a Pacific attack error to give the Anteaters the 36-34 victory.

UCI led 15-11 in the second set when Kevin Wynne took over with a kill and two aces to open the gap to 18-11. Carson Clark would record six kills as the Anteaters took the set 30-17. UCI would hit .536 with just two errors and also fire four aces in the set.

Cole Reinholm continued UCI's hot serving with a pair of aces to take an early 5-2 lead in the third set. Clark had a kill and ace before by a pair of Tiger attack errors extended the UCI lead to 10-3. The Anteaters won the set 30-23 as Yoder led the `Eaters with five kills.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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