RENO, Nev Junior Juliane Piggott (Newport Beach/UCLA) led all players with 20 kills as UC Irvine (1-0) kicked off the 2009 season with a 3-2 (19-25, 25-20, 25-19, 19-25, 15-12) upset over sixth-ranked California (0-1) Friday at the Nevada Marriott/Fairfield Courtyard Invitational.
Piggott, who transferred from UCLA this season, hit .304 (20-6-46) and added 11 digs. Junior Kari Pestolesi (Huntington Beach/Edison HS) recorded 17 kills and 10 digs while setter Taryn Robertson (Valencia/HS) put away seven kills and tallied 44 assists. Libero Kristin Winkler (Los Altos/St. Francis HS) topped the team with 12 digs while firing a pair of service aces. UCI out-blocked the Golden Bears 11-6.5 and was paced by Alexandra Hauser (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) and Taylor Smith (Los Altos/Archbishop Mitty HS), who had a match-high five block assists apiece.
“The team played hard and did not back down even after the loss in the fourth set,” said first-year head coach Paula Weishoff. “I’m very proud of the team.”
The Anteaters tied the match with a win in set two, breaking away from a 9-9 tie and taking a 12-9 lead on a pair of kills and a Cal attack error. UCI built a six-point lead at 20-14 and again at 23-17 on a Smith kill. The Golden Bears trimmed the lead to four but Robertson found Pestolesi for set point and Cal committed a service error to end the frame.
The Bears, who hit .081 in the second set, were held to a .192 hitting percentage in the third. UCI on the other hand, committed just four errors (13-4-26) for a .346 percentage. Leading 14-12 the Anteaters rattled off five straight points, including a pair of service aces by senior Lauren Souto (Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS) for a 19-12 advantage. Cal came as close four points at 23-19 but a Smith tooled off the block and the trio of Pestolesi, Smith and Riley Cropper (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS) put up the triple block to record the win.
UCI kept the fourth set close but at 11-8, Cal out-scored the Anteaters 12-5 to lead 20-16. A four-point rally gave the Golden Bears set point at 24-16 and knotted the match at 2-2 on a kill by Tarah Murrey.
In the deciding frame, the team traded points until UCI put together a four-point run, highlighted by a pair of kills by Robertson, to lead 13-9. A Cal ball-handling error gave the Anteaters match point and Robertson found Piggott for the game-winning kill.
UCI continues tournament action tomorrow against UConn at 2:00 p.m. and Nevada at 7:00 p.m.
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