No. 10 USC had the lead in the decisive fifth game – but then opposite Hilir Henno went off.
Henno with No. 7/7 UC Irvine trailing 6-4 had three consecutive kills and then added two more kills to cap off a 6-1 run as the Anteaters defeated the Trojans 25-22, 25-27, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 on Wednesday in Irvine, California.
The all-conference pin hitter finished with 17 kills in front of a home crowd of 1,534 people in attendance. In addition, Henno was one of three Anteaters with double-digit kills in the non-conference victory.
Outside attacker Francesco Sani led all players with 23 kills, including having the match-winning kill to extend UC Irvine’s undefeated start to the season. Outside attacker Cole Gillis also contributed 12 kills and had one error on a .355 attack percentage.
UC Irvine switching between setters Joe Karlous and Dyan Zhai throughout the match out-hit USC .301 to .275. After losing the third game, the Anteaters had a combined .442 attack percentage in the final two games of the comeback win.
USC outside attacker Dillon Klein had a team-high 19 kills. Both Lucas Frassrand and Kevin Kobrine added double-digit kills and hit more than .300 in the loss to the Anteaters.
UC Irvine out-blocked USC 9 to 8 with middle attacker Doug Dahm having a match-high six blocks.
Karlous also led all players defensively with 13 digs.
This was the Anteaters’ second win against a nationally ranked team so far this season. UC Irvine swept Lewis in its season opener to begin its five-match winning streak.