UC Irvine Advances To NIVC Second Round
Defense and serving led UC Irvine to a post-season sweep of Sacramento State (25-16, 25-19, 25-10) in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship at the Spanos Center. UCI picks up a post-season victory for the second time in school history, the last coming against Missouri in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Championship during head coach Ashlie Hain's junior year.
The Anteaters will play the winner of the Pacific and Boise State match at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 29) at the Spanos Center.
UCI fired eight aces and out-dug the Hornets 52-35.
Junior Harlee Kekauoha topped the team with 14 kills, eight digs, two blocks and an ace. Reigning Big West Player of the Week, Makayla Wolfe followed with 10 kills and three total blocks, while setter Ali Koumelis recorded 33 set assists, a match-high 15 digs and four kills. Koumelis guided the Anteaters to a .337 hitting percentage.
Libero Luna Tsujimoto had a career-high four aces to go with 12 digs. Outside hitter Haley DeSales posted eight kills, two aces and six digs and middle blocker Idara Akpakpa had six kills in the win.
Sacramento State (26-10) couldn't get the offense going, hitting .062 for the match. Mikaela Nocetti, Lana Brown and Shannon Boyle all had a team-best four kills.
UCI would score six straight to jump out to a 6-2 lead in the first set then went on an 11-3 run, which included three Makayla Wolfe kills and a block to take a 17-5 advantage. Sacramento State would rally late, but could not catch the Anteaters as Harlee Kekauoha ended the set with a kill, 25-16.
With the score tied at 14-14 in the second set, UCI used two Haley DeSales kills and three Hornet errors, one a block by Wolfe, to give UCI the 19-14 lead. Another Wolfe kill ended the set 25-19.
UCI scored 11 in a row, sparked by three Luna Tsuijmoto aces to break open the third set, 15-4. The Anteaters would roll to a 25-10 win and a sweep into the second round.