PALO ALTO — Top-ranked UC Irvine out-blocked No. 4 Stanford 12-5.5 to earn a 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win at Burnham Pavilion Friday.
UCI's 12 blocks is tied for the second most this season. Collin Mehring and Scott Kevorken had five total blocks each to help the Anteaters (9-3, 6-3 in the MPSF) extend their winning streak to five, the longest of the season, and deal Stanford (7-4, 4-4) its first home loss of the year (6-1).
Senior All-American Kevin Tillie led UCI with 18 kills, hitting .531 (18-1-32). The outside hitter also added three blocks, five digs and an ace. Outside hitter Jermey Dejno totaled 12 kills, two aces and seven digs, while opposite Zack La Cavera had nine kills, three aces and eight digs.
Mehring, a middle blocker who leads the MPSF in hitting percentage, had another impressive performance with nine kills on 12 attempts and just one error (.667). Setter Daniel Stork recorded 41 set assists, seven digs and three blocks. Libero Michael Brinkley matched La Cavera for the team lead in digs with eight.
Steven Irwin had a match-high 21kills and Brian Cook recorded 18 kills in the loss. Jake Kneller scooped 15 digs.
In the first set, two aces by La Cavera plus a Stanford attack error and a kill by Dejno helped UCI to an 8-4 lead. A block by Kevorken and Stork, another Cardinal attack error and a kill by Tillie opened a 12-6 Anteater advantage. Stanford went on a 4-1 run to close within 16-15, but UCI answered with three straight points on a Tillie kill, a Stanford ball-handling error and a solo block by Dejno. UCI scored the final four points of the set, the last an ace by Kevorken.
With the score tied at 11-11 in the second set, UCI had a kill by La Cavera, a bad set by a Cardinal player and a block by Collin Mehring and Stork to open a 14-11 advantage. La Cavera would take over with a pair of kills and a block with Kevorken to increase the margin to 19-14. Tillie had six kills in the second-set win.
UCI created some distance, 7-3, in the fourth set off of three consecutive Stanford errors. Two more Cardinal errors followed by an ace by Dejno put UCI ahead 11-4. The Anteaters continued to lead 15-10 before Stanford made a move scoring the next three to inch to 15-13. After Stanford caught UCI, 17-17, the Anteaters had kills by Tillie and Mehring to put UCI back on top, 19-17. A Cardinal service error and a block by Mehring and Tillie forced a Stanford timeout, 21-18. Stanford scored the next two points (21-20) until Tillie answered with a kill, 22-20.
The teams would side out to give UCI the 25-23 victory.
UCI plays at No. 11 Pacific Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
— From UCI Athletics