IRVINE, Calif. - University of California San Diego outside hitter Wyatt Harrison was named Monday as the Big West Conference Men's Volleyball Freshman of the Week.
The product of Kilauea, Hawaii (Pacific Collegiate School), thus earns the distinction of becoming UC San Diego's first-ever Big West Freshman of the Week, with the women's water polo team joining the conference for the 2020 season, and full membership for baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, etc., coming in the 2020-21 academic year. The Big West is in its inaugural season of sponsoring men's volleyball, with UC San Diego an associate member.
Harrison produced two more matches in double-figure kills as UC San Diego split a non-conference pair. He had 12 kills on .435 hitting (12-2-23), with four digs and a block assist, in Wednesday's 3-1 home win over USC. Harrison then shared the team high of 10 kills, on .533 hitting (10-2-15), in Friday's four-set loss at Stanford, adding three digs, three service aces to equal his season high, and an assist. He was a perfect 9-0-9 offensively through three sets, and was the Tritons' primary passer, handling 39 of 40 cleanly.
Harrison now has seven matches in double-figure kills as a rookie, including a season-best three in a row. He ranks second on the team with his 2.25 kills per set.
UCSD was in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) for the previous 25 seasons before joining the new Big West, and unlike the MPSF's solitary weekly honor, the Big West awards a Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week, and Freshman of the Week. Harrison is the second Triton to earn a selection, with senior tri-captain Tanner Syftestad the very first Big West Player of the Week after the opening week of the season back on Jan. 8.
Harrison is only the third different player to earn the freshman distinction, with Long Beach State middle blocker Simon Anderson and UC Irvine outside hitter Joel Schneidmiller having split the previous nine awards with five and four, respectively. Both of them were also nominees alongside Harrison this week.
Harrison also on Monday picked up Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honorable mention for the third time.
Having rounded out its non-conference slate with that four-set loss at Stanford last Friday night, UC San Diego (9-10, 0-2 Big West) concludes its regular season with eight straight Big West tilts, all against four of the top 10 teams in the nation. The stretch begins with a home-and-home against No. 5 UC Irvine this week. The teams square off at the Bren Events Center in Irvine on Thursday, March 15, and inside RIMAC Arena in La Jolla on Friday, March 16. First serve both nights is set for 7 p.m.