Tritons Battle but Fall in Four Sets at No. 2 UCLA
LOS ANGELES - The University of California San Diego men's volleyball team took a set from the second-ranked team in the nation but ultimately fell in four at UCLA Saturday night inside the John Wooden Center.
Set scores were 25-20, 25-13, 23-25, and 25-19.
UC San Diego dropped to 0-2 and UCLA improved to 2-0 on the young season.
The Tritons were held to an .066 (27-22-76) hitting percentage, partly due to the Bruins coming up with 12.5 blocks at the net. UCLA hit .365 (43-12-85) and had 11 service aces but also totaled 30 errors from the line.
Individually, freshman middle Shane Benetz had a team-high five kills to go along with two aces, and a block assist for UC San Diego. He hit a solid .571 with just one error in seven attacks. Redshirt junior outside Xander Jimenez recorded three kills, four digs, two aces, two blocks (one solo), and an assist and freshman opposite Berkeley Miesfeld registered four kills, an ace, and a block assist. Junior libero Ryan Lew had a team-best eight digs and junior setter Connor Walbrecht finished with 19 assists.
In the third set, neither team had more than a three-point lead. With the Bruins up 22-21, the Tritons reeled off three consecutive points, the first coming on a service error. Benetz then served up an ace, prompting UCLA to take a timeout. Sophomore opposite/outside Bryce Curtis put down a kill off an assist from freshman Blake Crisp, giving UC San Diego a 24-22 lead. Following a Triton attack error, Crisp set up freshman middle Logan Clark for the kill that won the set.
The Tritons sided out at 75 percent in the third frame, which helped them to the set victory despite hitting .120 (10-7-25) to the Bruins' .400 (12-2-25).
UC San Diego started strong, hitting .385 (8-3-13) in the opening set, their highest of the night. However, UCLA countered at .476 (13-3-21), its best of the match.
Dylan Missry led UCLA with a match-high 16 kills. Daenan Gyimah had 10 kills, a majority of them coming in the straight-down fashion. He hit .615 with two errors in 13 swings and added eight blocks (three solos). Micah Ma'a had 37 assists and a match-high nine digs and Brandon Rattray put away 13 kills.
UC San Diego travels east for its next four matches, playing at Sacred Heart (Jan. 11), Harvard (Jan. 12), Lewis (Jan. 18), and Loyola Chicago (Jan. 19).
The Tritons play their first six contests on the road before opening their home slate on Jan. 25 with a rematch against UCLA. The team kicks off its second Big West Conference season on Feb. 8 vs. UC Irvine at RIMAC Arena in LA Jolla.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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