Nationally-Ranked Midwest Squads Await Tritons
UC San Diego (2-2), receiving votes in this week's AVCA National Poll, is on the road again this week, traveling to the Midwest for a pair of non-league matches against ranked teams.
On Friday, Jan. 18, the Tritons take on No. 8 Lewis (4-1) in Romeoville, Ill. The next night, they hop over to Chicago to face No. 7 Loyola (3-1). The Flyers and Ramblers are out of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA).
The two contests in Illinois wrap up a season-opening six-match road swing for UC San Diego. The Tritons will finally play their first home match against UCLA on Friday, Jan. 25 (7:00 p.m.) at RIMAC Arena.
ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 2-2
• Big West: 0-0
• Home: 0-0
• Away: 2-2
• Neutral: 0-0
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: 0-2
• Streak: Won 2
• AVCA National Ranking: Receiving Votes
• Big West Preseason Poll: 6
ROCK THE VOTE
After going 2-0 last week on the East Coast with victories at Sacred Heart and Harvard, UC San Diego is receiving votes in the latest AVCA National Poll, which was released Monday. The Tritons were RV in several polls last season into early March.
The men's volleyball team will be taking over the UC San Diego Athletics Instagram account (@UCSDtritons) on Friday, Jan. 18. See what the Tritons are up to in Chicago!
UC SAN DIEGO ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Starters Returning (1)
• Wyatt Harrison (So., OH)
Primary Liberos Returning (1)
• Ryan Lew (Jr.)
Others Returning (10)
• Gabe Avillion (R-Fr., MB)
• Alex Biz (R-Fr., OH)
• Bryce Curtis (So., OPP/OH)
• Macune Gilruth (R-Fr., OPP)
• Xander Jimenez (R-Jr., OH)
• Connor Leech (R-Fr., OH)
• Vlad Pesic (R-So., MB)
• Collin Shannon (So., OPP)
• Sean Staskus (R-Fr., OH)
• Connor Walbrecht (Jr., S)
• Shane Benetz (Fr., MB)
• Logan Clark (Fr., MB)
• Blake Crisp (Fr., S)
• Ryan Ka (Fr., OH)
• Beikl Liu (Fr., MB)
• Berkeley Miesfeld (Fr., S/OPP)
• Matt Palma (Fr., L)
• Marco Posada (Fr., OH/OPP)
• Leor Schiffer (Jr., OH)
• Michael Urdahl (Fr., MB)
RECENT RESULTS REWIND
• 1/12/19 at Cambridge, Mass.: UC San Diego 3, Harvard 1
• 1/11/19 at Fairfield, Conn.: UC San Diego 3, Sacred Heart 0
• 1/5/19 at Los Angeles: No. 2 UCLA 3, UC San Diego 1
• 1/4/19 at Malibu: No. 6 Pepperdine 3, UC San Diego 0
HARRISON HAS BIG WEEK BACK EAST
Over two road wins last week, sophomore Wyatt Harrison led the team in points, kills, and aces and was third in digs. He had match-highs in both contests with 16.5 points and 15 kills at Sacred Heart and 14 kills, 17 points, and three aces at Harvard. Harrison equaled career-highs with three aces and nine digs against the Crimson.
SYFTESTAD SHINES IN FIRST PROFESSIONAL START
Former Triton Tanner Syftestad got his first professional start with United Volleys Frankfurt on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The opposite hitter had 11 points on 10 kills and a block while hitting .421 to lead his team to a 3-0 sweep of Netzhoppers SolWo Konigspark KW. United Volleys competes in Germany's top division of the Bundesliga.
Several Tritons made their collegiate debuts in week one including returning redshirts Gabe Avillion and Sean Staskus as well as first-year players Shane Benetz, Logan Clark, Blake Crisp, Berkeley Miesfeld, and Leor Schiffer.
TWO FIRST-YEAR TRITONS COME IN AS AVCA HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS
Blake Crisp and Berkeley Miesfeld were chosen to AVCA High School Senior All-America teams back in June. Crisp was on the 10-player first team, with Miesfeld named to the 10-player second team. The duo, picked out among a record 97 nominations, are the first Tritons selected for the AVCA distinction since Tyler Bird made the first team in 2014 and Griffin Galvin the second team in 2013. Two Tritons are on the list for the first time since 2011, when Garrett Dempsey and Tien Le were both second-teamers. Only high school seniors whose head coaches are AVCA members are eligible. Crisp was subsequently also named to the 12-player VolleyballMag.com Boy's High School All-America Second Team in July.
CRISP COMPETES FOR U.S. MEN'S JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM
Triton freshman Blake Crisp was selected as one of 12 players and two setters on the U.S. Men's Junior National Team roster for the NORCECA Men's U21 Continental Championship in Havana, Cuba, from Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2018. He entered in the first set and played the remainder of the tournament-opening sweep over Nicaragua, helping the U.S. to a .479 attack percentage. Starting against Haiti, he aided the U.S. to a .440 hitting percentage and added his first two kills in another sweep, earning Off the Block U.S. Player of the Day honors. He then started and served three aces in a 3-1 victory over Canada to finish pool play a perfect 3-0. Crisp started in a semifinal defeat (3-1) to the Dominican Republic and had a pair of kills. He came off the bench to provide one kill in 3-1 loss to Canada in the third-place match. Ultimately, Crisp started three of five matches as the U.S. finished fourth with 3-2 record, totaling five kills and three aces. He was named the tournament's Best Setter, leading the event with a 5.00 excellent sets per game average and guiding the team to the tournament's third-best offensive efficiency at 48.63 percent.
ALL-BIG WEST HONORS FOR SYFTESTAD AND HARRISON
The first Big West Conference men's volleyball postseason awards included two UC San Diego representatives in Tanner Syftestad and Wyatt Harrison. Syftestad was a member of the All-Big West First Team, while Harrison was on the Big West All-Freshman Team.
SYFTESTAD WITH IMPRESSIVE FIRSTS
In 2018, Tanner Syftestad became the first player in program history to garner postseason recognition from AVCA, earning All-America honorable mention. He was also the first UC San Diego student-athlete in any sport named All-Big West and Big West Conference Athlete of the Week. In addition, the opposite was named VolleyMob All-America Third Team and VolleyballMag.com All-America honorable mention and was a repeat Off the Block (OTB) Division II National Player of the Year.
SEVEN TRITONS EARN BIG WEST ACADEMIC HONORS
Following the 2018 season, seven Tritons picked up Big West All-Academic honors including Alec Flowers, Xander Jimenez, Ryan Lew, Luke McDonald, Milosh Stojcic, Nathan Thalken, and Bryan Zhu. UC San Diego's seven honorees were second-most among the six Big West programs behind only Hawai'i's eight. To qualify, student-athletes are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, be at least a sophomore academically, and have competed in at least 50 percent of their team's contests. It was the seventh straight year in which the Tritons had at least six recognized at the conference level for their classroom achievements. For the third year in a row, Flowers had the team's top GPA at 3.69.
The Tritons will be playing in an updated RIMAC Arena this season as it recently underwent its first significant renovation in its nearly 24-year existence (opened in January of 1995). The project has modernized the arena and improved training and competition facilities for student-athletes. In addition, the venue will provide fans with a first-class live event experience. The renovation included new retractable seating, modern glass railings, and a VIP skybox. The arena’s most noticeable new features are the addition of a 50-foot wide Daktronics digital video display and scoreboard as well as state-of-the-art courtside LED scorer’s tables. A new video production facility was also constructed.
BIG WEST STANDINGS
Long Beach State, 0-0 (5-0)
UC Irvine, 0-0 (5-1)
Hawai'i, 0-0 (3-0)
CSUN, 0-0 (4-1)
UC San Diego, 0-0 (2-2)
UC Santa Barbara, 0-0 (3-3)
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 1/16)
3. Attacks/Set: 28.14
14. Aces/Set: 1.86
18. Assists/Set: 10.86
19. Digs/Set: 8.00
22. Kills/Set: 11.14
24. Blocks/Set: 2.04
27. Opponent Hitting Percentage: .270
28. Hitting Percentage: .198
TRITONS IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 1/16, top 30)
12. Wyatt Harrison, Attacks/Set: 7.92
15. Ryan Lew, Digs/Set: 2.14
15. Vlad Pesic, Hitting Percentage: .447
22. Vlad Pesic, Blocks/Set: 1.00
30. Connor Walbrecht, Assists/Set: 7.62
AVCA NATIONAL POLL
1. Long Beach State
2. UC Irvine
11. Ohio State
12. UC Santa Barbara
13. Purdue Fort Wayne
14. Ball State
15. Grand Canyon
RV: USC, George Mason, UC San Diego
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE AVCA NATIONAL POLL
• 1/14: Receiving votes
• 1/7: Not ranked
• Preseason: Not ranked
2019 BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL
1. Long Beach State, 36 points (six first-place votes)
2. Hawai'i, 28
3. UC Irvine, 26
4. UC Santa Barbara, 16
5. CSUN, 11
6. UC San Diego, 9
2018 UC SAN DIEGO REWIND
• Overall: 9-19
• Big West: 0-10 (6th)
• Home: 5-8
• Away: 1-10
• Neutral: 3-1
2018 FINAL BIG WEST STANDINGS
1. Long Beach State, 9-1 (28-1)
2. Hawai'i, 6-4 (19-8)
3. UC Irvine, 6-4 (21-10)
4. CSUN, 5-5 (16-11)
5. UC Santa Barbara, 4-6 (11-13)
6. UC San Diego, 0-10 (9-19)
2018 BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
The inaugural Big West Tournament was hosted by Long Beach State April 19-21, 2018 at Walter Pyramid. Sixth-seeded UC San Diego was defeated in straight sets by No. 3 UC Irvine in the opening round. Top-seeded LBSU swept Hawai'i to take the conference crown and went on to win its second national title and first since 1991.
HEAD COACH KEVIN RING
Entering his 14th season heading up the UC San Diego Men's Volleyball program in 2019, Kevin Ring owns a 93-275 overall record at the school. Ring got his start as the Tritons' team manager from 1989-91 before playing for the team for three seasons. He was an assistant coach for nine years and was named head coach in June of 2005. He has also been extensively involved with USA Volleyball. Ring earned two degrees from UC San Diego, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry in 1996, followed by a master's in Chemistry in 1998.
BIG (WEST) NEWS FOR UC SAN DIEGO ATHLETICS
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020 and will play a full Big West schedule that season. During the transition, UC San Diego will be eligible for National Collegiate Championships in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and men's and women's fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I Championships. Men's volleyball became an associate member of the Big West for the 2018 season and women's water polo will join the conference in the spring of 2020. Read the full press release here.
NCAA MEN'S VOLLEYBALL SNAPSHOT
The NCAA combines Division I and Division II teams into a single national championship, while Division III squads have a stand-alone championship. There are 47 Division I and Division II teams combined, with 38 of those making up five conferences. Another nine institutions are independent.
Long Beach State
UC San Diego (DII)
UC Santa Barbara
Belmont Abbey (DII)
Emmanuel (Ga.) (DII)
King (Tenn.) (DII)
Mount Olive (DII)
North Greenville (DII)
Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA)
Charleston (WVa.) (DII)
Saint Francis (Pa.)
Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)
Purdue Fort Wayne
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF)
Concordia (Calif.) (DII)
Alderson Broaddus (DII)
Lincoln Memorial (DII)
Puerto Rico at Bayamon (DII)
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (DII)
Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras (DII)
Queens (NC) (DII)
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
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After playing its first six matches of the season away from La Jolla, the Tritons finally open their home slate on Jan. 25 (7:00 p.m.) with a rematch against UCLA.
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.
Follow the Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDTritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDTritons), Instagram (@UCSDTritons) and Facebook (UCSDTritons). To stay tuned in to UC San Diego Men's Volleyball, follow the team's Instagram (@UCSDmvb).