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Rebels, Anteaters Go The Distance Friday Night

Sept. 8, 2017

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LAS VEGAS ( - The Rebel volleyball team (4-5) went the distance, once again, Friday; however the outcome was much different than earlier in the day. UNLV, which trailed 2-1, forced a fifth and final set against the UC Irvine Anteaters (7-1) by winning nine straight points to close out the fourth. Unfortunately, the Scarlet & Gray was not able to duplicate its come-from-behind magic in the fifth en route to a 3-2 loss (25-22, 18-25, 20-25, 25-23, 12-15) to conclude the first day of the UNLV Challenge at the Cox Pavilion.

The Rebels, who trailed by as much as eight points on five occasions in the fourth before their comeback, carried the momentum from the fourth to the fifth. UNLV lost the first point in the fifth, but won the second and third to extend the run between the final two stanzas to 11-1. The 2-1 lead did not last long, as it was quickly erased by UC Irvine's own 6-1 spurt. The Rebels managed to pull within one point once at 7-6, but they got no closer than two the remainder of the contest. The Anteaters held a five-point lead -- 14-9 -- to set up match point; though, UNLV won three straight points to extend the affair until a kill by Ali Koumelis clinched the match.

UC Irvine outhit UNLV by 80 points (.220 to .140) with help from 16 more kills (67-51) despite its offense committing two more errors (29-27) in one more attack attempt (173-172). The Anteaters began the match with a paltry -.057 hitting efficiency in the first only to muster up .222 or better efforts in each successive set, including a team-best .412 in the fifth. The Rebels, on the other hand, were able to hit .229 and .222 in the third and fourth, respectively, but were held to a combined .065 between the first, second and fifth.

Mariena Hayden led the Rebel offense with 18 kills, with Ashley Owens and Elsa Descamps close behind with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Hayden also contributed six digs and one assisted block defensively. Owens and Descamps helped out defensively, too, as the former had six total blocks (one solo) to the latter's seven (four solo).



Riley Jacobs assisted on 43 of the team's 45 assisted kills, and also notched seven digs and two assisted blocks.

Leka Kiner-Falefa registered a match-high 22 digs, while teammate Shania Scott had 19 of her own.

THE TURNING POINT: Shortly after it was forced to a fifth set by UNLV's nine-point run, UC Irvine used its own 6-1 outburst to put some distance between the two teams in the final frame.

STAT OF THE GAME: UC Irvine hit a combined .290 efficiency between the second and fifth sets after it opened the match with a -.057 in the first.

REBEL OF THE GAME: Hayden led the Rebels with 18 kills and her .241 hitting efficiency was second best on the team against UC Irvine.

QUOTABLE: "I was pleased with the fight our kids showed tonight, especially in the fourth set," said head coach Cindy Fredrick. "Coming back from 19-11 and 23-16 showed a lot of toughness. Mo (Mariena Hayden) and Elsa (Descamps) had a good hitting night. We just need to have more people putting the ball away."

*Owens moved up in both total blocks and assisted blocks in UNLV's career record book Friday. To-date, she sits fourth overall in total blocks with 360, and fifth in assisted blocks with 318.
*UNLV sits at 5-4 all-time against UC Irvine after Friday's match.

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: The Rebels return to the Cox Pavilion Saturday afternoon (2:00 pm) to host the Louisville Cardinals to close out the second day of the UNLV Challenge. Prior to the match, Weber State and UC Irvine will square off at 11:30 am.

UNLV CHALLENGE UPDATE: Prior to the UNLV-UC Irvine match, Louisville defeated Weber State 3-1. Through the first day, Louisville sits first overall at 2-0, while UNLV and UC Irvine are tied for second at 1-1, and Weber State is fourth at 0-2.

TICKETS: Single-match and season tickets for the 2017 UNLV volleyball season are on sale now by visiting or calling 702-739-FANS. In addition, special ticket pricing is available for groups of at least 20 by contacting Dan Johnson at or calling 702-895-1885.

Season tickets start at $40 for faculty, staff and seniors (62+) and $50 for adults. All single-match tickets can be purchased in-advance and online for as low as $5. As always, kids 12 and under and UNLV students with a valid Rebel Card are admitted for free.

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