SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's volleyball team overturned a two-set deficit to knock off No. 5 Lewis, 3-2, in its 2013 opener at the 49th Annual UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational on Friday.
The non-conference foes met up at The Thunderdome on Friday morning. Scores were 17-25, 19-25, 32-30, 25-23 and 15-12.
UCSD (1-0) will next take on No. 6 UCLA (1-0) at The Thunderdome in the semifinals of the eight-team, two-day tournament later Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Bruins duplicated the Tritons' two-set comeback and five-set triumph against 13th-ranked host UC Santa Barbara at Robertson Gymnasium, also on Friday morning. Set scores there were 25-27, 21-25, 25-22, 25-14 and 15-13.
Friday night's affair will mark UCSD's first-ever championship semifinal appearance at the UCSB Invitational. The Tritons are an even 6-6 over their last 12 meetings with the Bruins, and have beaten them at least once in each of the past five years.
The other semifinal, also at The Thunderdome at 7:30, pits top-ranked defending national champion UC Irvine against No. 7 Long Beach State, both three-set victors over No. 15 Cal Baptist and No. 10 Loyola-Chicago, respectively.
Lewis (0-1), the reigning Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) champion from Romeoville, Ill., falls into the consolation semifinals against UC Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Robertson Gymnasium. The Flyers lost to USC, 3-1, in last year's NCAA Championship semifinals at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
With the result, UCSD improves to 2-6 all-time against Lewis. The teams had last split a two-match series in Romeoville back in 2010. The Tritons' previous win versus an MIVA opponent came at home on March 24, 2011, against Ohio State, 3-1. The Buckeyes went on to earn their first national championship that season. UCSD was 0-2 against MIVA squads a year ago.
The Tritons have now taken seven of their last 10 matches dating back to the end of the 2012 season, including a first-ever five-match Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win streak from March 9-31. That run included UCSD's previous upset of a top-five team, a 3-1 defeat of No. 3 UCLA in La Jolla on March 30.
UCSD's last win over a top-five team away from home was a 3-0 sweep of No. 5 UCLA at the John Wooden Center in Los Angeles on April 1, 2011.
The Tritons last participated in the UCSB Invitational to begin their 2011 campaign, going 1-2 following an opening 3-1 loss to No. 9 UCLA and placing seventh.
UCSD will play a third and final match at the 2013 Asics Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 5, at Rob Gym. That contest will begin at either 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., against UC Irvine or Long Beach State, depending on Friday night's results.
-- UCSDtritons.com --