LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 12 UCSD men's volleyball team hit over .500 in the opening set, but couldn't keep it up and ended up falling, 3-1, against un-ranked Cal State Northridge Saturday night at RIMAC Arena. Scores of the match went 18-25, 25-22, 25-19 and 25-23.
UCSD dropped to 6-10 overall and 3-7 in the MPSF, while Cal State Northridge improved to 4-10 and 3-6.
For the seventh time in his last eight matches, outside hitter Carl Eberts finished with a double-digit kill total. His match-high 13 kills came with two aces, seven digs and two blocks. Eberts also led the Tritons with 16.5 points.
Opposite Shane Veiga totaled nine kills, six digs and four blocks. Freshman middle Sebastian Brady had eight kills and four blocks, while setter Phil Bannan had a team-high 10 digs to go along with four kills, two aces and a pair of blocks.
The Matadors got 13 kills from Tanner Nua and 11 each from Greg Faulkner and Brandon Lebrock. Kaleo Baxter led all players with 13 digs and Matt Stork and Drew Staker each had seven blocks.
"Overall, we didn't play well," said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. "We just did not bring the pressure. We needed to put more pressure on the sideout game."
UCSD came out on fire in the first set, hitting .550 with 13 kills and only two errors in 20 attack attempts. On the other side of the net, Cal State Northridge hit .148 with 11 kills and seven errors in 27 attacks. The Matadors actually had a three-point lead early on, but once UCSD went ahead 9-8 on a kill by middle Calvin Ross, it never trailed again. Veiga had five of his kills in the set and added two digs and two blocks.
However, the Tritons couldn't keep up that pace and plummeted to .000 (10-10-44) in the second set, their lowest of the night. CSUN also managed to lower their efficiency and ended at .140 (13-7-43). UCSD tied it at 7-7, but Northridge took the lead and improved it to five points at 18-13 before the Tritons started to climb back in it. They cut the deficit to one several times, the last at 23-22, but the Matadors put it away with a UCSD attack error and a Faulkner block.
The Matadors turned the corner in the third set. They posted a match-best .389 (10-3-18) and blocked the Tritons seven times. Faulkner and Storke each had three blocks and Lebrock had four kills. UCSD struggled and only hit .080 (11-9-25).
Both teams hit poorly again in the fourth set, CSUN at .114 (12-8-35) and UCSD at .031 (9-8-32). The Tritons staved off three match points, but the Matadors put an end to it on a kill by Faulkner.
The Tritons finished the match at a season-low .116 (43-29-121) just over a week after swinging at a season-best .477 to upset No. 3 Stanford at Maples Pavilion. The Matadors ended the night at .171 (46-25-123).
"I felt that our middles played well, but it's difficult when our passing is so inconsistent," said Ring. "We needed somebody to go out there with some grit, to say 'enough is enough' and really get after it."
UCSD travels to Provo, Utah, Feb. 24th and 25th to take on No. 2 BYU.
- ucsdtritons.com -