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.
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.