Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Xander Jimenez

Tritons Travel to UC Santa Cruz, No. 8 Stanford

UCSD

THE SCHEDULE
Match 15
UC San Diego (5-9) at UC Santa Cruz (8-12)
Friday, Feb. 22 • 7 p.m. PT
Kaiser Permanente Arena • Santa Cruz, Calif.
Last Meeting: UC San Diego 3, UC Santa Cruz 0 (2/2/19 at La Jolla)
Live VideoTickets

Match 16
UC San Diego (5-9) at No. 8 Stanford (9-5)
Saturday, Feb. 23 • 7 p.m. PT
Maples Pavilion • Stanford, Calif.
Last Meeting: Stanford 3, UC San Diego 1 (3/9/18 at Stanford)
Live VideoLive Stats

------

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.

------

RING AROUND 100
Heading into this week's matches, UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring has 98 career victories with the Tritons. 

------

BIG RANKINGS FOR THE BIG WEST
Five Big West Conference teams can be found in this week's AVCA National Top-15 Poll:
1. Long Beach State
2. Hawai'i
3. UC Irvine
5. UC Santa Barbara
11. CSUN

------

SHANNON CANNON
Last week at UC Irvine, Collin Shannon established new career-highs with 23.5 points, 21 kills, and a .500 hitting percentage. He followed that performance with 14.5 points and 12 kills, both match-highs, the next night against UC Santa Barbara at home.

------

SETTING NEW MARKS
In his first career start on February 8 at RIMAC Arena, freshman setter Blake Crisp racked up 45 assists, seven digs, three blocks, and 1.5 points - all personal bests - against UC Irvine. At UC Irvine on February 14, he topped his assists total with 49.

------

X MARKS THE SPOT
Xander Jimenez set new career-highs with 16 kills and 17.5 points against UC Irvine on February 8.

------

FLYING HIGH OVER THE EAGLES
UC San Diego recorded several season highs in its win over Concordia on February 1, including kills (72), assists (69), digs (57), blocks (14.5), and points (87.5). In fact, the Tritons' 87.5 points were their most since totaling 90.0 against Pacific on April 5, 2013.

------

WHAT AN OPENER!
A near-record crowd of 1,648 was on hand as the Tritons opened their home slate on January 25 against seventh-ranked UCLA. The fan total was the second-largest since the program moved to NCAA Division II status for the 2000-01 season, just behind the 1,689 attendance on March 2, 2013, when UC San Diego hosted BYU. It was the third time since 2001 that more than 1,000 fans came out for a men's match at RIMAC Arena.

------

ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 5-9
• Big West: 0-3
• Home: 3-4
• Away: 2-5
• Neutral: 0-0
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: 0-8
• Streak: Lost 3
• AVCA National Ranking: Not ranked
• Big West Preseason Poll: 6 of 6

------

ABOUT UC SANTA CRUZ
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 8-12
• Home: 1-5
• Away: 3-6
• Neutral: 4-1
• Streak: Won 1
• AVCA National Ranking: Not ranked
------

ABOUT STANFORD
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 9-5
• MPSF: 1-1
• Home: 9-1
• Away: 0-4
• Neutral: 0-0
• Streak: Won 2
• AVCA National Ranking: 8
• MPSF Preseason Poll: 4 of 7

------

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 (9)
Shane Benetz (Fr., MB)
Logan Clark (Fr., MB)
Blake Crisp (Fr., S)
Ryan Ka (Fr., OH)
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
• 2/15 at La Jolla: UC Santa Barbara 3, UC San Diego 0
• 2/14 at Irvine: UC Irvine 3, UC San Diego 2
• 2/8 at La Jolla: UC Irvine 3, UC San Diego 1
• 2/2 at La Jolla: UC San Diego 3, UC Santa Cruz 0
• 2/1 at La Jolla: UC San Diego 3, Concordia 2
• 1/29 at La Jolla: Princeton 3, UC San Diego 1
• 1/26 at La Jolla: UC San Diego 3, Grand Canyon 0
• 1/25 at La Jolla: No. 7 UCLA 3, UC San Diego 1
• 1/19 at Chicago: No. 7 Loyola 3, RV UC San Diego 0
• 1/18 at Romeoville, Ill.: No. 8 Lewis 3, RV UC SanDiego 0
• 1/12 at Cambridge, Mass.: UC San Diego 3, Harvard 1
• 1/11 at Fairfield, Conn.: UC San Diego 3, Sacred Heart 0
• 1/5 at Los Angeles: No. 2 UCLA 3, UC San Diego 1
• 1/4 at Malibu: No. 6 Pepperdine 3, UC San Diego 0

------

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. More recently, redshirt freshman Macune Gilruth saw his first career action on February 2 vs. UC Santa Cruz, redshirt freshman Connor Leech debuted on January 25 vs. UCLA, and freshman Matt Palma first played on January 18 at Lewis.

------

SYFTESTAD SHINES IN FIRST PROFESSIONAL START
Former Triton Tanner Syftestad got his first professional start with United Volleys Frankfurt on Wednesday, January 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.

------

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.

------

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.

------

BIG WEST STANDINGS
(through 2/21)
UC Irvine, 2-0 (13-2)
UC Santa Barbara, 1-0 (13-3)
Long Beach State, 0-0 (13-0)
Hawai'i, 0-0 (10-0)
CSUN, 0-0 (8-6)
UC San Diego, 0-3 (5-9)

------

AVCA NATIONAL POLL
(2/18)
1. Long Beach State
2. Hawai'i
3. UC Irvine
4. Pepperdine
5. UC Santa Barbara
6. UCLA
7. Loyola
8. Stanford
9. BYU
10. Lewis
11. CSUN
12. Ball State
13. George Mason
14. USC
15. Purdue Fort Wayne

------

UC SAN DIEGO IN THE AVCA NATIONAL POLL
• 2/18: Not ranked
• 2/11: Not ranked
• 2/4: Not ranked
• 1/28: Not ranked
• 1/21: Not ranked
• 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)

------

2019 BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
The 2019 Big West Tournament will be hosted by the University of Hawai'i and will run April 18-20 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. All six Big West teams qualify for the tourney. 

------

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 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)

------

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.

------

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!

------

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)

------

UP NEXT
After this week's two non-conference matches, UC San Diego is back to Big West action when it travels to UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 1, for its lone contest of the week. The Tritons and Gauchos met in La Jolla on February 15 with UCSB earning a 3-0 victory.

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).

More From UCSD
M Volleyball