The offense continues to roll for No. 9/8 Grand Canyon – and so does its winning streak.
Grand Canyon finished with a .415 attack percentage as it defeated No. 7/6 UC Irvine 25-19, 25-19, 12-25, 25-22 on Friday in Phoenix, Arizona to remain undefeated.
This opener to a two-match non-conference series was the third consecutive match that the Antelopes (9-0, 0-0 MPSF) have hit more than .400. Grand Canyon also has now had more than .325 attack percentage in all nine matches to open the season.
Setter Nicholas Slight had 36 assists and guided the Antelopes offense to at least a .300 attack percentage in all four games against the Anteaters, including hitting a team-best .632 in the second game.
Outside attacker Jackson Hickman led all players with a match-high 13 kills on a .524 attack percentage and was one of two Antelopes with double-digit kills.
Outside attacker Christian Janke had 10 kills with five of those kills occuring in the final game. In addition, middle attacker Rico Wardlow contributed nine kills and hit .429.
All-MPSF outside attacker Camden Gianni came off the Grand Canyon bench throughout the match as a serving substitution and delivered a match-high three aces.
Gianni also was serving when Grand Canyon went on a 5-0 run early in the fourth game. The all-conference pin hitter as part of the run had an ace and then back-to-back kills from the back row.
Both Francesco Sani and Hilir Henno led UC Irvine (7-2, 0-0 Big West) with three aces.
UC Irvine in the loss hit .326 with both Sani and Henno having double-digit kills. Sani had a match-high 13 kills, while Henno added 11 kills and hit .348.
Freshman opposite William D’Arcy also had nine kills and zero errors on a .692 attack percentage against Grand Canyon.
This is the second consecutive loss for the Anteaters after starting the season on a seven-match winning streak. UC Irvine entered this road trip following a five-game home loss to No. 11 BYU last week.