UC Irvine can’t finish off Japan pro team, drops pool-play match at tourney

UC Irvine was unable to close out its opponent and now its chances of making the semifinals at its preseason international tournament will come down to the pool-play finale.

UC Irvine blew a two-game lead and lost to the Toray Arrows, a professional team from Japan, 22-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-13 on Tuesday at the Irvine International Volleyball Tournament.

The Anteaters won the first two games with late-game kills from middle attacker Scott Kevorken and All-American outside attacker Carson Clark. Kevorken scored the final two points in the opening game on a kill and a block, while Clark had the game-winning in kill the second game.


Clark also had a kill in the third game to give UC Irvine a match-point at 24-23. However, the Toray Arrows (1-0, 1-0 Pool B) scored the next three points to win the game in overtime and begin its two-game comeback.

The Anteaters (1-1, 1-1 Pool B) entered this pool-play match in first place in Pool B after winning its tournament opener against Beijing. A victory against Toray Arrows could have clinched UC Irvine a spot in the semifinals.

The top two teams in the two pools of the eight-team tournament will advance to the semifinals.

For UC Irvine to make the semifinals it will now have to defeat a previous tournament champion Drean Bolivar from Argentina in its pool-play finale on Wednesday.

This is the third year of the Irvine International Volleyball Tournament. It is the only preseason tournament that pits a college men’s volleyball team against professional teams from around the world.  

The Anteaters have never advanced to the semifinals in the first two years of their tournament.