Jonathan Bates | Off the Block associate editor
For the second night in a row, the UC Irvine hit at least .350 versus No. 5/3 BYU, as they defeat the Cougars in five sets.
Statistically, the match was not as close as a five set match would indicate, as the Anteaters outhit, out-blocked, and out-dug the Cougars. The match was a tale of even and odd sets; UC Irvine in sets one, three, and five hit a combined .471. In sets two and four, there were a combined 25 ties and 11 lead changes, while the Anteaters were held to a .188 attack percentage.
Karl Apfelbach was unable to reproduce his performance from the night before (24 kills, 6 service aces) but still ended up with 15 kills. He was joined by three other Anteaters with double-digit kills.
The Cougars were paced by players who prepped locally, Brenden Sander (16 kills, 2 aces) and Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga (10 kills.) BYU drops to 5-3 and returns to Provo to host UC Santa Barbara next weekend.
UC Irvine improves to 9-1, and will continue its homestand versus Stanford and UCLA next weekend. The Bruins are the only team to defeat the Anteaters this season (in five sets on Jan. 10.)
Check out post-match interviews conducted by Off the Block Special Contributor, Brandon Johnson, and Associate Editor, Jonathan Bates.