Comeback Falls Short in Five-Set Loss at Concordia
IRVINE, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's volleyball team came back from two sets down but ultimately fell, 3-2, at Concordia in non-conference action Friday night in Orange County.
Scores were 25-14, 25-21, 21-25, 21-25, and 15-8. UC San Diego dropped to 6-12 and Concordia improved to 8-13.
"It was a tough loss tonight, but I'm proud of how hard we fought," said UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring.
Sophomore opposite/outside hitter Bryce Curtis had a career night, leading the Tritons with 14 kills and 18 points. Curtis posted a solid .357 (14-4-28) hitting percentage and also added four block assists, two service aces, and a dig.
Collin Shannon finished with 10 kills, eight digs, and two block assists. The sophomore opposite has at least 10 kills in seven of his last nine matches.
Freshman middle blocker Logan Clark (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch Senior HS), redshirt junior outside hitter Xander Jimenez, and redshirt sophomore middle Vlad Pesic recorded seven kills apiece. Pesic hit .462 (7-1-13) and had four blocks (one solo), while Clark hit .400 (7-1-15) and racked up four block assists.
Junior libero Ryan Lew, who ranks 11th in the country in digs per set (2.30) had a match-high 12 tonight.
As a team, UC San Diego hit .213 (49-22-127) and Concordia countered at .319 (68-22-144).
After hitting -.069 in the opening set, the Tritons rebounded to swing at .317 over the next three frames.
"The first set certainly wasn't our best effort," said Ring. "We played a little bit better in set two and I think that really helped establish a good tone as we went into set three."
Down 13-11 in the third set, the Tritons used a four-point run to take the lead and they wouldn't trail again. The Eagles tied it up three times, but at 18-18 UC San Diego scored seven of the last 10 points to win its first set of the night.
The Tritons stormed out of the gate in the fourth stanza and took a 4-0 lead, backed by a pair of kills from Jimenez. A later 9-1 run put them up 17-7. CUI then mounted a comeback and reeled off an 11-3 run that had the Eagles back within two points at 20-18. UC San Diego called a timeout and returned to the court to win the next two points and Concordia would get no closer than three points as the Tritons won the set to even the contest at 2-2.
The fifth set stayed close early. At 6-6, the Eagles scored three consecutive points to take a three-point advantage for the first time in the frame. That lit the spark for Concordia as it went on to take six of the final eight points and win the match.
"It was a good team effort," said Ring. "I really like to see us playing good volleyball and scrapping late in games and finding ways to win them."
The Tritons defeated the Eagles in five sets on February 1 in La Jolla.
UC San Diego hosts another non-conference opponent in eighth-ranked Stanford (12-7) on Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m. The Cardinal were swept at Long Beach State, the top-ranked team in the nation, Friday night.
Saturday's match will broadcast live on 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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