Bruins Fall in Five to Visiting Anteaters
March 11, 2012
Top-ranked UCLA fell in five sets to visiting No. 2 ranked UC Irvine Saturday night in a key MPSF match in the John Wooden Center.
The Anteaters recorded their second victory this season over the Bruins and also snapped the hosts' unbeaten streak at home. Set scores were 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 25-27, 15-13. UCLA, which will likely fall from its perch atop the rankings, dropped to 18-3 overall and 12-2 in the MPSF race. UCI improved to 16-3 overall, 12-3 in league action.
However, the Bruins remained in first place of the league standings.
The Anteaters remained unbeaten this season on the road.
UC Irvine also became the first team to win a set in the John Wooden Center this season, grabbing the opening set after rallying from a 17-14 deficit to tie the set at 18-18. An attack error by the Bruins' Gonzalo Quiroga forced UCLA to use a timeout and UCI's Carson Clark gave the visitors a 20-18 lead with a kill coming out of the break. The Anteaters eventually built a three-point lead and won the set when the Bruins' Kyle Caldwell served into the net at set point. Surprisingly, the Bruins out-blocked the `Eaters, 6-0 and out-hit them .286 to .154, but UCI served four aces, recorded two more kills and did not commit a ballhandling or blocking error. (The Bruins had three.)
Set two was tight throughout with neither team leading by more than two points. The Bruins rallied from an 6-4 deficit to tie the set at 9-9. They took a 12-10 lead on a UCI service error and a solo block by Jeremy Casebeer, and maintained that advantage until UCI tied it 15-15. The match went back and forth, and finally the Bruins broke through at 21-all and earned a two-point lead on a pair of kills by Quiroga. After a UCI timeout yielded a point for the visitors, the Bruin went up 24-22 on another Quiroga kill. Another UCI timeout produced a point for the Anteaters, but the Bruins got a kill from senior Weston Dunlap to win the set, 25-23.
UC Irvine used a 7-3 run early in set three to gain the advantage and never looked back. They forced the Bruins to call a timeout leading 12-6 and never led by less than three (13-10). The visitors hit .324 in this set and kept the Bruins attack percentage at .250.
Set four was a tightrope walk, much like the second set. The Bruins took an early 9-6 lead, forcing the Anteaters to call their first timeout. The visitors finally tied the set at 19 after putting together a 3-0 run. A UCI block coming out of UCLA's first timeout gave UCI a 20-19 lead. At 24-all, a combo block from Casebeer, Thomas Amberg and Spencer Rowe gave UCLA a 25-24 lead. A UCI block tied the score, but the Bruins wrapped up the set on two kills from Quiroga.
UC Irvine broke a 10-all tie in set five with a 3-0 run that broke the Bruins' backs. Two kills and a block by Kevin Tillie and a UCLA hitting error gave the visitors a 14-11 lead. The Bruin managed to score twice on kill by Rowe and one by Quiroga, but UCI ended a long rally at match point with a kill from Tillie.
Casebeer led UCLA with 12 kills (.321), followed by 11 apiece from Quiroga and Amberg.
Tillie and Clark each recorded 21 kills for UC Irvine.
The Bruins will continue their home stand next week with matches against USC (Mar. 14) and Pepperdine (Mar. 16).
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