No. 7 UC Irvine Can't Handle No. 2 Long Beach State

No. 7 UC Irvine Can't Handle No. 2 Long Beach State

IRVINE, Calif. – No. 2 Long Beach State controlled every aspect of the game in a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-16) victory over No. 7 UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center Friday.

Defense was key as LBSU (10-2, 6-1) out-blocked UCI 10.5-3.0 and out-dug the Anteaters 32-20. The Beach was efficient on offense as well hitting .469 to UCI's .196. The Anteaters have the most aces among MPSF teams, but could not muster a service winner for the first time all year, while Long Beach fired four aces.

UCI (8-5, 5-4) was led by senior Thomas Hodges with 10 kills followed by senior Tamir Hershko with nine. Senior Michael Saeta had 26 set assists, three kills and a team-high six digs.

Long Beach State's TJ DeFalco led all players with 16 kills, hitting .560. He also added eight digs and five block assists.

A consecutive kill, ace and block by the Forty-Niners gave LBSU the early 6-3 lead in the first set until Michael Saeta's serving put Long Beach on their heels and UCI tied it at 6-6. The Forty-Niners would then go on a 6-1 run, which included four UCI mistakes to open a 12-7 advantage. LBSU would continue to lead 17-11 until Saeta once again stepped back to the service line and helped UCI narrow the margin to 17-14. Following a timeout, Long Beach would out-score UCI 8-5 to win the set 25-19. LBSU would hit .478 to UCI's .200.

In a closely contested second set, LBSU used two UCI attack errors to take a 21-19 lead and would go on to a 25-22 win.

The Forty-Niners once again took control early with a 6-2 advantage in the third. UCI closed to 9-8, but LBSU scored the next two to maintain the momentum. A kill by Tamir Hershko pulled the Anteaters within 16-14, but three UCI errors would immediately follow. UCI would score just two more points the rest of the way, both LBSU service errors, to end the match, 25-16.

UCI will entertain No. 13 CSUN tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at the Bren Events Center.

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