IRVINE, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton got off to a quick start but it was not enough as they dropped a Big West Conference match to UC Irvine 3-1 (25-22, 17-25, 11-25, 18-25) Friday night at the Bren Center.
The Titans (7-14, 1-7) hit just .099 on the night while the Anteaters (15-7, 5-3) attacked at a .309 clip despite a sluggish opening set.
Freshman Niki Withers led the way for the Titans offensively, recording 17 kills to go along with three digs. Holland Crenshaw chipped in with nine kills and Mackenzie Olsen dished recorded another double-double with 36 assists and 10 digs.
For the Anteaters, Cassidy Pickrell blasted 25 kills at a .377 clip and Allison Lee added 11 with 13 digs and four service aces. Shelley Anderson, the Big West Conference leader in assists per set, dished out 39 on the night to help the Anteaters hit at a .309 percentage.
The Titans started out strong, out hitting the Anteaters .222 to .143 in the opening set. Withers tallied seven kills in the frame while hitting at a .467 clip. It was a tight set as the teams were tied for much of the latter part of the game. With the score tied at 20, Withers blasted her sixth kill of the frame to give the Titans the lead. An attacking error by Pickrell gave Fullerton a two-point cushion and then Olsen recorded an ace to give the Titans a 23-20 edge. The Anteaters fought back to cut the deficit to one, but Withers' seventh kill of the frame and a kill from Megan Kurz secured the set for the Titans and gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. Kurz finished the night with six kills and three digs.
But the Anteaters rebounded in the second set, committing just one error en route to a .333 hitting percentage in the frame. The Titans kept the set close early but, trailing 15-14, the Anteaters ran off eight of the next 10 points to take command of the frame and eventually tie the match at a set apiece.
Things snowballed in the third set for the Titans as they committed eight attacking errors in the game and dropped the set 25-11, the team's lowest score in a set this season.
In the fourth, the teams were tied six times but the Anteaters used a 10-4 run midway through the game to gain some separation and eventually clinched the match on Pickrell's 25th kill of the night.
The Titans will return to Titan Gym on Nov. 1 to take on Hawai'i at 7 p.m.
Notes: McKenna Painton's streak of double-doubles was snapped Friday night. She had no attempts on the night and tallied four digs… Olsen's double-double was her fifth of the season, snatching the team lead from Painton… The Titans suffered just their third loss when winning the opening set in a match… Fullerton has now dropped three straight matches to the Anteaters.