LONG BEACH, Calif. - Carl Eberts had 19 kills and Johl Awerkamp added 18 as the 15th-ranked UC San Diego men's volleyball team outlasted No. 9 Long Beach State to earn a five-set win Thursday night at Walter Pyramid.
Scores went 16-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20 and 15-11. UCSD improved to 5-16 overall and 3-13 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), while LBSU fell to 10-10 and 5-8. It was the Tritons' second ever win at Walter Pyramid and first since 1983.
"This was a great win for UCSD tonight," said head coach Kevin Ring. "It was a gritty match and we played some big points big, which really showed our maturity."
A 61-48 advantage in kills and a .978 to .913 edge in reception percentage helped lead the Tritons to the win. Setter Garrett Dempsey had 48 assists and a .399 assist percentage, while LBSU held a .366 mark. The Tritons aced the 49ers seven times, but made 21 service errors, equaling their season-high. The 49ers led in several statistical categories, including hitting percentage (.237 to .192), blocks (13.5 to 9) and digs (47 to 38).
Eberts also contributed two aces, six digs and three blocks and amassed 22 points, his second-highest total of the season. Awerkamp matched Eberts with two aces and six digs while adding three blocks. He finished with 21.5 points, the second-best total of his season as well. Libero Chase Frishman led UCSD defensively with nine digs and middle blocker Fred Stahl had six blocks.
Long Beach got 16 kills from Jeff Ornee and another 10 from Jim Baughman. Baughman completed a double-double with a match-high 12 digs and Taylor Crabb had 11 scoops. Trevor Crabb had six blocks while Ornee had five.
An early three-point run in the opening set gave the 49ers a 6-2 lead. UCSD quickly got itself back in it with a four-point streak to cut the lead to one at 9-8. Awerkamp had an ace and Eberts put down a kill in the run. At 12-10, LBSU rattled off another four unanswered points to go up 16-10 and essentially put the set out of reach for UCSD. Baughman accounted for two of the points with a kill and a block. Awerkamp totaled four kills for UCSD in the set, while Ryan Meehan had four blocks for the 49ers.
UCSD turned a 180 in the first half of the second set as it took its first lead of the match when an ace by Eberts gave the Tritons a 6-5 advantage. They would not trail again in the set. At 18-14, an attack error by the Beach, a block by Stahl and Vaun Lennon and a service ace by Dempsey gave the Tritons a comfortable 21-14 lead. However, Long Beach wouldn't go down without a battle. Eight of the next nine points went to the 49ers, knotting the score at 22-22. A block by Stahl and Eberts put the Tritons back up by one, but a serve miscue allowed LBSU to tie it once again at 23-23. UCSD won the next two points and the set on a Beach serve error and an ace by Awerkamp, who again led the Tritons in kills with five.
Set number three was back-and-forth and stayed within a one-point spread up until 11-11. The 49ers took three consecutive points to go up 14-11, with Brad Hemmerling posting a kill and a block, and UCSD was not able to dig itself out of the hole.
Back-to-back Awerkamp kills and a Long Beach attack error put UCSD up 5-3 in the fourth set. Kills by Sebastian Brady and Eberts earned the Tritons an 11-7 lead, prompting a timeout by the 49ers. UCSD was able to keep its pace as a Lennon kill moved the score to 21-17 in favor of the Tritons. LBSU made it interesting again by scoring three straight points to get within one at 21-20, but UCSD exploded to take the next four points to even the match at 2-2 and force a fifth and deciding set. Consecutive kills by Brady and Eberts, followed by a huge Brady/Eberts block and another Long Beach attack error closed out the set.
The teams traded points to start the fifth frame until, at 4-3 in favor of Long Beach, UCSD rattled off three unanswered points. A 49er service error tied it at 4-4, while a block by Dempsey and Stahl gave the Tritons their first lead and a Dempsey kill put them up 6-4. Long Beach State called a timeout and returned to get a point on a Triton serve error, but UCSD took the next two points to go up 8-5. LBSU closed the gap to one at 10-9, but back-to-back kills by Brady and Awerkamp pushed the Tritons up by three at 12-9. Following a 49er timeout, they came back to the floor and scored twice to close within one again at 12-11. UCSD stepped up to finish out the match by winning the next three points. Awerkamp put away a kill for the 13th point, a hitting error by Long Beach gave the Tritons match point and Mike Brunsting and Stahl shut the door with a block.
The teams split the regular season series as the 49ers defeated the Tritons in four sets at RIMAC Arena on Feb. 25. UCSD had lost the previous nine match-ups against LBSU with its last win coming on Feb. 24, 2007, also a five-set contest.
Thursday's match was the sixth five-set affair for UCSD this season, which evened its mark in the marathons at 3-3.
The Tritons play their sixth straight road match Friday night at MPSF opponent Cal State Northridge, ranked 13th nationally. The 7 p.m. tilt will be covered by live stats. Following a week off, UCSD returns to RIMAC Arena to host UCLA on Mar. 30 and UC Santa Barbara on Mar. 31. Both matches are slated for a 7 p.m. start.
- UCSDtritons.com -