LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's volleyball team kept it close but was swept by UCLA, the top-ranked team in the nation, Thursday at the John Wooden Center. Scores were 25-21, 25-20 and 28-26.
UCSD fell to 3-16 overall and 1-13 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). UCLA moved to 18-2 overall 12-1 in MPSF play. It was the ninth loss in a row for the Tritons and the sixth consecutive win for the Bruins.
The Tritons hit .299 (40-17-77), their highest attack percentage since swinging at .339 against Hope International on Feb. 3. The Bruins finished at .354 (43-14-82) and held an 8-3 advantage in blocks. UCSD made 13 errors from the service line while UCLA gave away 11 points on serve errors.
Carl Eberts led all players with 14 kills and Johl Awerkamp added another 12 for UCSD. The Bruins were paced by 10 kills from Gonzalo Quiroga.
UCLA never trailed in the opening set. UCSD kept it within one point early before UCLA rattled off six consecutive points to take a 9-3 lead. The Tritons slowly got back in it and were down by just two points on three occasions, the last time at 21-19. However, a Weston Dunlap kill and a Triton attack error put the Bruins up 23-19 to essentially seal the win in the frame.
A ball handling error and three straight attack errors put the Tritons out to a 4-1 lead in the second set. UCSD either held a lead or kept it knotted until a service error and a Jeremy Casebeer kill allowed UCLA to take a 13-11 lead. The teams traded points and UCSD tied it at 15-15 on a service error. That would be the final tie of the set as a Triton serve error, a block by Dunlap and Kyle Caldwell and another Casebeer put-away gave the Bruins an 18-15 edge.
It was close early once again in the third set with the Tritons playing from behind before taking an 11-10 lead due to a Bruin attack error. The lead swung back and forth a couple of times before a three point run gave UCSD a 23-19 advantage. A block by Sebastian Brady and Mike Brunsting and another block by Brady and Vaun Lennon figured in the flurry. With a 24-20 lead, the Tritons couldn't shut the door as UCLA exploded for five unanswered points to regain the lead, 25-24. UCSD took the lead back by winning the next two points, one on a serve error, the other on an ace by Garrett Dempsey. Again the Tritons couldn't seal the deal on set point and surrendered the next three scores. Dunlap and Caldwell had back to back kills and a Triton hitting miscue gave the set and the match to UCLA, 28-26.
The match featured 27 tie scores.
In 2011, the two teams split the regular season series with UCSD sweeping in Los Angeles and UCLA winning in straight sets in La Jolla.
The Tritons, in the middle of a six-match road swing, play at No. 12 UC Santa Barbara Friday night at 7 p.m. The match will be covered by live stats.
- UCSDtritons.com -