Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Collin Shannon set new career-highs with 21 kills and 23.5 points Thursday in Irvine.

Tritons Take No. 3 UC Irvine to Five Sets but Come Up Just Short

UC San Diego

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IRVINE, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's volleyball team battled until the very end but came up just short against third-ranked UC Irvine, falling in five sets Thursday evening at the Bren Events Center.

Scores of the Big West Conference match went 25-19, 25-27, 23-25, 25-14, and 16-14 in favor of the Anteaters.

"It was a great fight by UC San Diego tonight," said Tritons' head coach Kevin Ring. "It's definitely disappointing coming up on the short end but I'm really proud of the guys' effort."

UC San Diego fell to 5-8 overall and 0-2 in the conference, while UC Irvine won its seventh-straight match to improve to 13-2 and 2-0. The two squads played each other less than a week ago as the Anteaters topped the Tritons in four sets this past Friday in La Jolla.

Sophomore opposite hitter Collin Shannon had a monster night for UC San Diego, finishing with 23.5 points, 21 kills, and a .500 (21-4-34) hitting percentage, all career-highs. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Gabe Avillion had 12 kills, matching a career-best, and hit a beefy .579 (12-1-19). Sophomore outside hitter Wyatt Harrison totaled 10 kills, seven digs, and three blocks, freshman middle Logan Clark (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch Senior HS) had eight kills and three blocks, and redshirt junior outside Xander Jimenez recorded seven kills and eight digs.

Freshman setter Blake Crisp amassed a career-high 49 assists. It was his second-straight match setting a career-best as he had 45 assists against UC Irvine at RIMAC Arena.

Junior libero Ryan Lew led all players with 14 digs.

As a team, UC San Diego hit .291 with 63 kills and 24 errors in 134 attack attempts. It was the Tritons' second-best attack percentage of the season.

UC Irvine was led offensively by Aaron Koubi's 17 kills and .469 (17-2-32) hitting percentage. Joel Schneidmiller registered a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs to go along with four aces, while Austin Wilmot had six blocks. 

UCI held a 12-6 advantage in blocks and an 8-3 edge in service aces. The Anteaters hit .368 (63-17-125).

In the deciding fifth set, UC San Diego got out to a 3-1 lead after a Harrison kill followed by back-to-back kills from Avillion. UC Irvine scored the next four points to go up 5-3 and the 'Eaters stayed in front until the Tritons tied it at 13-13. Trailing 13-10, UC San Diego went on a three-point run behind two UCI errors and a kill by Crisp. The teams then traded points, the Anteaters scoring on a Koubi kill and the Tritons tying it again on a Jimenez kill. With the score even at 14-14, UC San Diego unfortunately committed two errors, one from the service line and one on the attack, that allowed UC Irvine to take the win.

In the fifth set, the Tritons hit .571 (10-2-14) and the Anteaters hit .714 (11-1-14).

UC San Diego hosts Big West opponent UC Santa Barbara (12-3, 0-0) Friday at 7 p.m. The sixth-ranked Gauchos are riding a nine-match win streak.

Friday's contest will be broadcast live by ESPN3.

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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