Photo by: Scott Flanders

Tritons Have Crimson Seeing Red

UC San Diego

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - It was a T (for Tritons) party for the University of California San Diego men's volleyball team Saturday as it defeated non-conference opponent Harvard, 3-1, at the Malkin Athletic Center in Cambridge.

Scores of the match went 25-19, 25-23, 25-27, 25-23 in favor of UC San Diego, which won its second-straight contest to even its season record at 2-2. The Crimson remained winless, falling to 0-4.

"It's great to get the victory tonight after winning last night as well," said UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring. "We talked about coming out of this road trip 2-0. We traveled a long distance from home and to be able to fight our way through both matches was great for this team."

Five Tritons finished with at least 10 points, including Wyatt Harrison (match-high 17), Gabe Avillion (14), Vlad Pesic (11), Xander Jimenez (10.5), and Collin Shannon (10).

In a strong all-around effort, Harrison amassed 14 kills, nine digs, three service aces, and two assists. Avillion had 12 kills, Pesic had nine kills and four blocks, and Jimenez totaled seven kills, 10 digs, and three aces. Setter Connor Walbrecht picked up 39 assists, nine digs, four blocks (one solo), and two aces, while libero Ryan Lew collected a team-high 13 digs. 

As a team, UC San Diego hit .188, totaling 54 kills to Harvard's 41. The Tritons had a season-best nine service aces as well as seven blocks.

The match featured 37 tie scores and 17 lead changes.

"We didn't hit for a great efficiency tonight, especially in the first three sets, but I thought we came up really big at some moments down the stretch," said Ring.

The Crimson received 14 kills from Erik Johnsson and a match-high 15 digs from Matthew Ctvrlik. They hit .164 and had 12.5 blocks, six of those attributed to Trevor Dow. 

Harvard, out of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) won its first-ever conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

It was the first-ever meeting between UC San Diego and Harvard.

The Tritons completed their East Coast swing with a 2-0 record as they swept Sacred Heart Friday.

"We talk about trying to find our competitive identity and I think we're doing that, we're developing that," said Ring. "We're getting some guys on the court, we have some guys subbing in and finding their role on the team. I'm really proud of the guys. We still have more to work on, it's a young season, a long ways to go, but we certainly enjoy the victories."

UC San Diego is playing its first six matches of the season on the road. Next up, the Tritons head to the Midwest to take on No. 9 Lewis on Jan. 18 and No. 8 Loyola Chicago on Jan. 19. They return to La Jolla for their first home tilt on Jan. 25, a rematch against second-ranked UCLA.

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.

Follow the Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDTritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDTritons), Instagram (@UCSDTritons) and Facebook (UCSDTritons). To stay tuned in to UC San Diego Men's Volleyball, follow the team's Instagram (@UCSDmvb).

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