ST. CHARLES, Mo. - The University of California San Diego rallied from having dropped the opening set and knocked off host Lindenwood University, 3-1, in a non-conference men's volleyball match at Robert F. Hyland Arena on Saturday night. Set scores were 21-25, 25-18, 25-21 and 25-23.
In snapping a four-match slide, UC San Diego improves to 8-6 overall and is returning home with a split of its trip to the Midwest. Lindenwood, of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), dropped to 6-7. It was the first-ever meeting of the sides, with the Tritons now 2-1 this season against MIVA foes, with one match to go. Both programs are members of the NCAA Division II, with UCSD third in the latest Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division II poll, and Lindenwood at No. 5.
Senior opposite hitter Tanner Syftestad produced match highs of 19 kills and three service aces, hitting .432 (19-3-37). Senior setter Milosh Stojcic collected 36 assists, four digs, two kills and a block. Libero Thomas DeStefano led UCSD with seven digs, while fellow freshman Wyatt Harrison had seven kills and a team-best three blocks.
Lindenwood scored the first three points of the opening frame and led for the entirety. In the second, UC San Diego flipped the script, notching the first three points and likewise never relinquishing that advantage. The third set was the only one that had any lead changes, one, or tie scores, four. The home side got the initial tally, and the Tritons tied it at 1-1. Lindenwood went back on top, and still led 14-12 when UC San Diego went on a 4-0 run to take the lead for good, 16-14, coming out of a Lion timeout.
The Tritons got the first two points of the fourth and led for the remainder, going up 12-8 on Syftestad's third and final ace to bring about Lindenwood's first timeout. Still clinging to a 24-23 edge after a service error, UCSD converted on its second match point as Syftestad put down a Stojcic set for the decisive kill.
UC San Diego concludes a season-long four-match road stretch with its historic, first-ever Big West Conference match, Friday night, Feb. 23, at No. 13 UC Santa Barbara. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Triton Notes: Tanner Syftestad's 19 kills give him 1085 for his career, fifth in program history ... Syftestad's 37 attacks give him 2655 for his career, also fifth all-time ... With three more aces, Syftestad has 79 as a Triton, fourth all-time ... Tonight marked Syftestad's 50th career match in double-figure kills, including 13 of 14 thus far in 2018 ... Milosh Stojcic's 36 assists give him 2322 for his four-year career, fifth all-time ... UC San Diego has achieved eight wins in a single season for the first time since 2012, when it finished 9-19.