Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
Xander Jimenez is ready!

Tritons Open Home Season Friday on ESPN3 vs. No. 7 UCLA

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After playing its first six matches of the season on the road, a stretch that included trips to the East Coast and the Midwest, the University of California San Diego Men's Volleyball Team finally plays its first home match of 2019 on Friday, January 25, as it hosts seventh-ranked UCLA at RIMAC Arena.

The Tritons play back-to-back nights in La Jolla, entertaining Grand Canyon on Saturday, January 26.

In fact, starting Friday, UC San Diego welcomes six consecutive matches inside the friendly confines of an updated RIMAC Arena.

Adding to the excitement, it was announced last week that all 13 home matches this season will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

"After three straight weekends on the road, and two in rather cold weather, we are thrilled to compete at home," said 14th-year UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring. "With the excitement of a renovated RIMAC Arena along with our matches being broadcast on ESPN3, we are looking to establish a strong home court advantage."

UCLA and GCU are both out of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), of which UC San Diego was a member through the 2017 season.

THE SCHEDULE
Match 7
UC San Diego (2-4) vs. No. 7 UCLA (5-2)
Friday, Jan. 25 • 7 p.m. PT
RIMAC Arena • La Jolla, Calif.
Series Record: 6-53
ESPN3 • Live StatsTickets

Match 8
UC San Diego (2-4) vs. RV Grand Canyon (5-3)
Saturday, Jan. 26 • 5 p.m. PT
RIMAC Arena • La Jolla, Calif.
Series Record: 3-4
ESPN3 • Live StatsTickets

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TICKET INFO
Tickets are available for purchase beginning one hour prior to the start of the match at the RIMAC Arena Box Office.

General Admission $8
UC San Diego Student FREE
Senior (65+) $5
Children/Youth (4-12) $5
Military $5
Visiting Student $5
UC San Diego Alumni/Faculty/Staff $5
Children 3 and Under FREE

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EVENT PARKING/DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Parking permits are required Monday-Friday, 24 hours a day. Parking is free on Saturdays, Sundays, and major holidays. Permits can be purchased from machines in the lots and parking structures. When attending an event at RIMAC Arena, we recommend parking in the Hopkins Structure located south of RIMAC. The address is 9730 Hopkins Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093.
Driving Directions to Campus
Campus Map

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LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION! ESPN3 TO BROADCAST ALL HOME MATCHES
All 13 of UC San Diego's home matches will be broadcast live on ESPN3, providing national exposure for the Tritons.

Play-by-play duties will be handled by Miles Himmel and Ted Mendenhall, while Olympic gold medal winner and UC San Diego Women's Volleyball head coach Ricci Luyties will add color commentary.

ESPN3 events are available through the ESPN website (espn.com/watch), the ESPN app on mobile devices, or on connected streaming devices (Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, PS4, etc.).

To access live ESPN3 programming, you must authenticate on the website or in the app using your video/cable provider account. Non-participating TV provider customers may have access to ESPN3 programming online at WatchESPN.com as long as they subscribe to a participating high speed internet service provider. Users accessing WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN or ESPN mobile applications via an on-campus (.edu) or on-base (.mil) network receive complimentary access to ESPN3 content.

More information about accessing live ESPN3 content is available at this link.

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LOOK LIKE A TRITON
We'll be giving out replica UC San Diego Volleyball match jerseys at Friday night's match! Get yours and look like you're ready to serve, pass, and spike!

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TRITON TRIFECTA PART II
Friday night's match is the second part of this year's Triton Trifecta. If you attended the basketball games on January 19 (Part I), make sure to be present Friday and at Spirit Night on January 31 (Part III) to be entered to win a beach cruiser!

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ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 2-4
• Big West: 0-0
• Home: 0-0
• Away: 2-4
• Neutral: 0-0
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: 0-4
• Streak: Lost 2
• AVCA National Ranking: Not Ranked
• Big West Preseason Poll: 6 of 6

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UC SAN DIEGO ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Starters Returning (1)
Wyatt Harrison (So., OH)

Primary Liberos Returning (1)
Ryan Lew (Jr.)

Starters Lost (5)
Alec Flowers (MB/OH)
Milosh Stojcic (S)
Tanner Syftestad (OPP)
Nathan Thalken (OH/OPP)
Bryan Zhu (MB)

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)

Others Lost (6)
Thomas DeStefano (L)
Alec Juhl (S)
Luke La Mont (OH)
Luke McDonald (OPP)
Tyler Morgan (MB)
Drew Sloane (MB)

Newcomers (10)
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)

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ABOUT UCLA
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 5-2
• MPSF: 0-0
• Home: 3-1
• Away: 2-1
• Neutral: 0-0
• Streak: Lost 1
• AVCA National Ranking: 7
MPSF Preseason Poll: 1 of 7

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ABOUT GRAND CANYON
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 5-3
• MPSF: 0-0
• Home: 2-0
• Away: 0-1
• Neutral: 3-2
• Streak: Won 2
• AVCA National Ranking: Receiving Votes
MPSF Preseason Poll: 7 of 7

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RECENT RESULTS REWIND
• 1/19/19 at Chicago: No. 7 Loyola 3, RV UC San Diego 0
• 1/18/19 at Romeoville, Ill.: No. 8 Lewis 3, RV UC SanDiego 0
• 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

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HARRISON HAS BIG WEEK BACK EAST
Over two road wins on the East Coast, 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.

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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.

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TRITON DEBUTS
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. Most recently, freshman Matt Palma saw his first action at Lewis on Jan. 18.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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RIMAC RENOVATION
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.

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BIG WEST STANDINGS
(through 1/22)
Long Beach State, 0-0 (6-0)
Hawai'i, 0-0 (3-0)
UC Irvine, 0-0 (6-1)
CSUN, 0-0 (5-2)
UC Santa Barbara, 0-0 (5-3)
UC San Diego, 0-0 (2-4)

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UC SAN DIEGO IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 1/22)
4. Attacks/Set: 28.55
17. Digs/Set: 8.65
21. Aces/Set: 1.45
25. Assists/Set: 10.05
28. Kills/Set: 10.45
34. Blocks/Set: 1.83
34. Opponent Hitting Percentage: .278
38. Hitting Percentage: .158

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TRITONS IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 1/22, top 50)
10. Ryan Lew, Digs/Set: 2.40
16. Wyatt Harrison, Attacks/Set: 8.11
29. Hitting Percentage: Vlad Pesic: .354
33. Connor Walbrecht, Assists/Set: 7.21
39. Blocks/Set: Vlad Pesic: 0.941
44. Xander Jimenez, Aces/Set: 0.368
44. Berkeley Miesfeld, Assists/Set: 1.19
47. Wyatt Harrison, Kills/Set: 2.89
50. Collin Shannon, Attacks/Set: 6.88

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AVCA NATIONAL POLL
(1/21)
1. Long Beach State
2. Hawai'i
3. UC Irvine
4. BYU
5. Loyola
6. Pepperdine
7. UCLA
8. Stanford
9. Lewis
10. UC Santa Barbara
11. CSUN
12. Ohio State
13. Ball State
14. George Mason
15. Purdue Fort Wayne
RV: Barton, Grand Canyon

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UC SAN DIEGO IN THE AVCA NATIONAL POLL
• 1/21: Not ranked
• 1/14: Receiving votes
• 1/7: Not ranked
• Preseason: Not ranked

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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

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2018 UC SAN DIEGO REWIND
• Overall: 9-19
• Big West: 0-10 (6th)
• Home: 5-8
• Away: 1-10
• Neutral: 3-1

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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)

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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NCAA MEN'S VOLLEYBALL LANDSCAPE
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.
Big West
CSUN
Hawai'i
Long Beach State
UC Irvine
UC San Diego (DII)
UC Santa Barbara

Conference Carolinas
Barton (DII)
Belmont Abbey (DII)
Emmanuel (Ga.) (DII)
Erskine (DII)
King (Tenn.) (DII)
Lees-McRae (DII)
Limestone (DII)
Mount Olive (DII)
North Greenville (DII)

Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA)
Charleston (WVa.) (DII)
George Mason
Harvard
NJIT
Penn State
Princeton
Sacred Heart
Saint Francis (Pa.)

Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)
Ball State
Lewis (DII)
Lindenwood (DII)
Loyola
McKendree (DII)
Ohio State
Purdue Fort Wayne
Quincy (DII)

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF)
BYU
Concordia (Calif.) (DII)
Grand Canyon
Pepperdine
Stanford
UCLA
USC

Independent
Alderson Broaddus (DII)
Coker (DII)
Daemen (DII)
Lincoln Memorial (DII)
Puerto Rico at Bayamon (DII)
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (DII)
Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras (DII)
Queens (NC) (DII)
Urbana (DII)

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GEAR UP
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.

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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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BE SOCIAL!
UC San Diego Athletics on Facebook (UCSDtritons)
UC San Diego Athletics on Instagram (UCSDtritons)
UC San Diego Athletics on Twitter (@UCSDtritons)
UC San Diego Men's Volleyball on Instagram (ucsdmvb)

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UP NEXT
With six consecutive home matches, including three next week, UC San Diego hosts Princeton on Tuesday, January 29 at 6 p.m. Action continues against Concordia on Friday, February 1 (7 p.m.) and UC Santa Cruz on Saturday, February 2 (7 p.m.).

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).

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