No. 1 UC Irvine Defeats No. 8 UCLA in MPSF Tourney


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IRVINE, Calif. - Senior outside hitter Taylor Wilson pounded a career-high 29 kills to lead No. 1 UC Irvine to a 3-1 (30-23, 31-29, 30-32, 30-21) victory over ninth-ranked UCLA in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation quarterfinal match at the Bren Center Saturday.

The Anteaters, the tournament's No. 1 seed, advances to play No. 5 USC in a semifinal match next Thursday (Apr. 30) at the Bren Center. No. 2 Pepperdine will face No. 3 Cal State Northridge in the other semifinal.

UCI improves to 25-4 overall, while eighth-seeded UCLA ends the season 14-16.

Wilson's 29 kills betters his previous best of 24 set in 2008 and is the second most this season behind Jon Steller's 32 (at Pepperdine). The senior hit .412 (29-8-51) and also  recorded two aces and six digs. Redshirt Carson Clark added 18 kills and sophomore Jordan DuFault totaled 16 kills and 10 digs. Setter Ryan Ammerman tallied 61 set assists, three service aces, nine digs and three blocks. Middle blocker Kevin Wynne had a match-high five blocks to go with six kills. Libero Brent Asuka had a team-high 11 digs.

UCI did not block well, but held the 8.0 - 6.5 advantage. The Anteaters hit .350 while the Bruins hit .291 for the match.

UCLA was led by Jack Polales with 18 kills and a team-best four blocks, while Garrett Muagututia followed with 17 kills. Libero Tom Hastings had a match-high 13 digs.  Kevin Ker recorded 50 set assists and eight digs in the loss.

In the first set UCI led 13-11 before a Jordan DuFault kill was followed by a UCLA ball-handling error and a kill by Taylor Wilson to put the Anteaters ahead, 16-11. UCI maintain at least a two-point cushion the rest of the way as they took the set, 30-23.

The teams were tied 17 times in the second set, the last at 29-29 before Wilson put-away back-to-back kills for the 31-29 UCI victory.

UCLA jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the third set and controlled the game until UCI closed within 24-23 on a Carson Clark kill. UCLA responded with three straight points to go up 27-23. The Bruins would lead 28-24 before the Anteaters rallied on a kill by Clark and two more from Wilson to knot the score at 28-28. The teams traded points until the Bruins had a kill by Jack Polales and the last Anteater swing went long for the 32-30 UCLA win.

A pair of Clark kills combined with a Wilson kill and a UCLA attack error gave UCI the 8-4 advantage in the fourth set. Ryan Ammerman served UCI to six consecutive points to extend the lead to 19-9 as the Anteaters went on to win 30-21. UCI hit .407 in the set to UCLA's .094 mark.

Article courtesy of UC Irvine athletics.

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