Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Connor Walbrecht

UC San Diego Ends Road Marathon with Loss at No. 7 Loyola

UC San Diego

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CHICAGO - Playing in its sixth consecutive road match, the University of California San Diego men's volleyball team fell in three sets at No. 7 Loyola Saturday night in Chicago.

Set scores from Gentile Arena went 25-20, 25-15, and 25-16. UC San Diego, which is receiving votes in the latest national poll, is now 2-4 on the season and Loyola is 5-1.

The Ramblers sided out at 73 percent to the Tritons' 50 percent and won the attack battle by holding a .287 (37-12-87) to .126 (28-17-87) advantage in hitting percentage.  

"It was tough to come away with a loss, but I liked our competitive effort," said UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring. "We handled adversity better tonight than we did last night (loss at No. 8 Lewis)."

Wyatt Harrison led UC San Diego with six points, all on kills, and also added four digs. Xander Jimenez totaled five kills and seven digs, while Gabe Avillion and Shane Benetz each had four kills. Setter Connor Walbrecht finished with 24 assists, four digs, two blocks (one solo), a kill, and a service ace. Libero Ryan Lew had a match-high nine digs.

UC San Diego out-hit Loyola .304 to .111 in set one. However, the Tritons fell behind early, 11-4, and couldn't recover. The closest they would get was three when a Loyola attack error made it 18-15.

In the second set, UC San Diego hit .000 with seven kills and seven errors in 37 attack attempts. Again, Loyola went up early, getting out to a 10-5 lead and then pushing it to 15-7. At 21-15, the Ramblers scored four unanswered points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Set three was the most competitive with 11 tie scores and four lead changes. Trailing 9-8, UC San Diego reeled off three straight points on back-to-back kills by Benetz and a Loyola attack error to make it 11-9 in favor of the Tritons. Unfortunately, the Ramblers won six of the next seven points, five of those due to UC San Diego attack errors, to go ahead 15-12. A later four-point run brought it to 20-14 and the Tritons couldn't come back.

UC San Diego finally kicks off its home slate on Friday, Jan. 25 when it hosts UCLA at 7 p.m. It is the first of 13 home matches that will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

"After three straight weekends on the road, and two in rather cold weather, we are thrilled to compete at home next week," said Ring. "With the excitement of a renovated RIMAC Arena along with our matches being broadcast on ESPN3, we are looking to establish a strong home court advantage."

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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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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