Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Connor Walbrecht

UC San Diego Falls to No. 2 Long Beach State at Home

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. - Wyatt Harrison totaled 11 kills and three Tritons hit over .500 but the University of California San Diego was defeated in straight sets by No. 2 Long Beach State Saturday in Big West Conference men's volleyball action.

Scores from RIMAC Arena went 25-18, 25-15, and 27-25.

UC San Diego fell to 7-17 overall and 0-8 in the Big West while LBSU improved to 23-1 and 8-0.

"Playing the number two team in the country leaves little room for error," said UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring.

The Tritons hit .256 as a team with 36 kills and 13 errors in 90 attack attempts. It was their highest hitting percentage since swinging at .262 on March 12 in a win against Lindenwood.

Setter Connor Walbrecht hit .750 (3-0-4), middle blocker Vlad Pesic finished at .545 (6-0-11), and middle Logan Clark (Chula Vista/Otay Ranch Senior HS) hit .538 (7-0-13). The trio made no errors. Walbrecht had a well-rounded performance, adding 29 assists, six digs, and three blocks (one solo). Clark amassed nine points with his seven kills, one service ace, and two block assists.

Defensively, libero Ryan Lew posted a match-high with seven digs.

The Beach hit .541 with 51 kills and five errors in 85 attacks. TJ Falco led all players with 16 kills and Kyle Ensing followed with 15. Setter Josh Tuaniga racked up 39 assists in pacing the offense.

Overall, the match featured 35 tie scores and 17 lead changes.

UC San Diego opened with a .243 attack in the first set, but fell to .038 in the second.

The Tritons led 9-8 in the first frame, but the 49ers won three straight points to take the lead, which they would keep the rest of the way. They ended with a .583 hitting percentage, their best of the match.

The second set stayed tight early on. Tied at 9-9, Long Beach State scored four-straight times and again managed to carry the lead from there on and take a 2-0 advantage in the match.

"In the first two sets, our serve receive game was inconsistent and our offensive production took a hit," said Ring.

UC San Diego caught fire in the third set, hitting .481 with 14 kills and a single error. A kill by Shannon had the Tritons in front by a score of 23-22. LBSU scored the next two points to get to match point at 24-23. Coming out of a timeout, Clark put away a kill to keep the Tritons in it. Following a kill by LBSU's Nick Amado that gave the Beach another match point, Clark came up huge again to even it at 25-25. However, the next two points went to the visitors on a Triton service error and a match-clinching ace by Ensing.

All in all, the set had 19 tie scores.

"I like how our passers responded in set three, our best passing game of the night," said Ring. "In turn, Connor was able to dish to our middles more consistently as they provided seven of our 14 kills in the set and we hit .481 as a team."

The Tritons were also swept by the 49ers Friday in Long Beach.

UC San Diego played the two highest-ranked teams in the nation back-to-back as it faced No. 1 Hawai'i last week.

"Even this late in the season, we are still talking about the little aspects of the game where we can improve as a team," said Ring.

The regular season concludes next week with a home-and-home against No. 12 CSUN. The Matadors are 11-13 overall and 1-7 in the Big West. Their conference win came against No. 8 UC Irvine in five sets on April 5.  

UC San Diego hosts the first match on Friday, April 12, while the series moves to Northridge on Saturday, April 13. Both contests are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday will also be Senior Night with Xander Jimenez being celebrated.

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 81 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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