Photo by: Ed Chan/VolleyballMag.com
Gabe Avillion up in the air.

Tritons Swept by No. 6 UC Santa Barbara

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. - Playing its second match in as many days, the University of California San Diego men's volleyball team was defeated in straight sets by sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Friday at RIMAC Arena. Scores of the Big West Conference match went 25-21, 25-19, and 25-18.

UC San Diego is now 5-9 on the season and 0-3 in Big West play. A surging UCSB won its 10th-consecutive match to improve to 13-3 overall and 1-0 in the league.

Opposite Collin Shannon and outside Wyatt Harrison provided much of the Tritons' offense, finishing with 12 kills and 10 kills, respectively. Shannon, who registered a career-high 21 kills at No. 3 UC Irvine Thursday, hit .240 (12-6-25) and added four blocks (one solo) and four digs. Harrison hit .333 (10-3-21) with three digs, a block assist, and a service ace.

UC San Diego was strong at the net, out-blocking UC Santa Barbara 9 to 8.5. Middle Gabe Avillion matched Shannon with four stuffs (one solo), while middle Shane Benetz had two (one solo) and middle Logan Clark (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch Senior HS) and outside Xander Jimenez each had a solo block.

On the defensive side, libero Ryan Lew led all players with nine digs.

The opening set was the most competitive with eight tie scores. The Tritons out-hit the Gauchos .318 (9-2-22) to .154 (10-6-26). UC San Diego had an early 4-3 lead after a Shannon kill and an ace by Harrison. Tied 8-8, UCSB used a four-point run to go up 12-8 and later led by five, 15-10. From there, the Tritons rallied to win 10 of the next 15 points, a spree that ended with the score even at 20-20. Shannon had three kills and a block and Jimenez tallied two blocks and a kill during the run. However, the Gauchos took five of the next six points to win the set.

UC San Diego led early once again in set two, up 5-4 before UC Santa Barbara went on a 7-2 run to take an 11-7 advantage. The Tritons were back within three points at 19-16, but the Gauchos went on to win six of the final nine points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

UCSB scored the first three points of the third set and stayed ahead the rest of the way. The Gauchos hit .452 (17-3-31) in the set, their highest of the night.

Corey Chavers paced UC Santa Barbara with 12 kills, five digs, and two aces. Ryan Wilcox had nine kills, five digs, and three blocks.

The Tritons posted a .176 (31-16-85) attack percentage in the match and the Gauchos countered at .274 (36-13-84). 

UC San Diego plays two non-conference matches on the road next week, traveling to UC Santa Cruz on Friday, February, 22 and Stanford on Saturday, February 23. Both contests are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.

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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