LA JOLLA, Calif. - Eighth-ranked Brigham Young University produced a comprehensive 3-0 victory over UC San Diego in front of an electric crowd of 826 on hand for the Tritons’ 2014 home opener inside RIMAC Arena on Saturday night. Scores were 25-12, 25-19, 25-17.
After dropping each of its first four matches this season on the road, UCSD is left searching for a first win at 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). BYU, the 2013 national runner-up and 2014 MPSF co-favorite, won its fourth straight after back-to-back road losses in non-conference action to begin the campaign, improving to 4-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in league play. BYU has now won all 35 meetings all-time between the sides.
BYU hit an efficient .354 (40-11-82) on the night and served 15 aces, including nine by reigning MPSF Player of the Year and MPSF Player of the Week Taylor Sander. The haul marked a new school record and tied for the third-highest single-match effort in league history, just two off the standard of 11 by USC’s Tony Ciarelli in 2012. Sander added a match-high 13 kills.
UCSD held its first and only lead at 3-2 in the third frame after successive kills by redshirt freshman middle Mathew Schnitzer and Awerkamp. Five straight points by the Cougars, the last three of which were on Phil Fuchs kills, necessitated a timeout at 7-3. Sander’s final two aces, the latter the school-record-breaking ninth, coming out of the break made it 9-3 and sent BYU on its way to completing the sweep.
Jake Langlois, Matt Underwood (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and Michael Hatch combined on a pair of triple blocks, late in the first and second sets. The Cougars trotted out to a 10-2 lead in the first and scored the first four points in the second.
A 5-0 run cut into a 21-13 deficit for the Tritons later in the second. Awerkamp punctuated an entertaining rally with a kill and freshman Griffin Galvin served his first career ace, leading to the evening’s first Cougar timeout during the positive stretch, but the visitors scored four of the next five points to close out the set.
Freshman outside hitter Calvin Manchenko appeared in the third set and registered his first collegiate kill for UCSD.
The Tritons are off to Honolulu, Hawaii, this Thursday, Jan. 23, for a two-match set at the University of Hawai’i on Friday, Jan. 24, and Sunday, Jan. 26.