UC Irvine outlasts USC for title
UC Irvine wanted to prove that the NCAA volleyball title it won two years ago was no fluke.
The Anteaters dispelled that notion Saturday by winning again, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to beat USC, 3-2, in the NCAA men’s title match.
“That was an epic battle,” UC Irvine Coach John Speraw said. “I think people could be talking about that match for a very, very long time.”
Taylor Wilson had 21 kills, Ryan Ammerman finished with 55 assists and Jordan DuFault had 14 kills, including the final one to give UC Irvine a 15-12 win in the fifth game.
The Anteaters were in the volleyball Final Four for the third time in four years and added to the title they won in 2007.
Speraw, who played and coached at UCLA before coming to Irvine seven years ago, remembered when the Anteaters couldn’t compete with the rest of California’s volleyball powers.
Now, they’re the best in the nation.
“The UC Irvine that’s still in my memory is the one where you drive down the freeway, you beat them in an hour and you’re hanging out on Newport Beach,” Speraw said. “I think this championship shows that what happened in 2007 wasn’t just lightning striking.”
Top-seeded UC Irvine (27-5) led the fifth set 14-12 when Ammerman set up DuFault for the winning kill.
Murphy Troy had 26 kills and McIbbin had 71 assists for USC (21-11).
Irvine won the match, 26-30, 30-23, 26-30, 30-17, 15-12.