LA JOLLA, Calif. - Following a 1-1 week at RIMAC Arena that included a big upset over third-ranked Ohio State, the Tritons will pack their bags for their next four matches. They play at No. 8 UC Santa Barbara Thursday and at No. 5 UCLA Friday.
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Here's a week-by-week look at UCSD in the 2011 AVCA poll:
|Jan. 10||Receiving votes|
CHANGE OF VENUE GRANTED
Friday's match at UCLA will be played at the John Wooden Center, not at the usual Pauley Pavilion. Interior renovations to Pauley are slated to begin in the next few weeks and no events will be held there until the fall of 2012. For driving directions and parking info for the Wooden Center, click here.
Opponent Hitting Percentage: 6th, .290
Team Service Aces: 4th, 1.22/set
Team Digs: 7th, 8.07/set
Team Kills: 9th, 12.39/set
Team Assists: 10th, 11.67/set
Team Blocks: 10th, 2.15/set
Team Hitting Percentage: 11th, .245
Team Aces: 16th, 1.22/set
Team Kills: 17th, 12.39/set
Team Assists: 18th, 11.76/set
Team Blocks: 23rd, 2.15/set
Team Hitting Percentage: 27th, .245
CHASE THE ACE
He already became UCSD's all-time leader in both assists and service aces earlier this season, and senior setter Phil Bannan is on the verge of setting another school record. He currently has 46 aces this season, just nine shy of topping the single season record of 54 by Eric Mai in 1997.
Sophomore outside hitter Carl Eberts has recorded 10 or more kills in 15 of his last 17 matches. Most recently, he put away a match-high 14 against UCLA on Mar. 26 and downed a career-high 22 in an upset at Pepperdine on Mar. 12. After starting just nine matches in 2010, Eberts has become a mainstay in the Triton lineup and is one of just three to start all 24 matches to date (Phil Bannan and Calvin Ross are the others).
UCSD recently played its final non-MPSF team of the season, upsetting No. 3 Ohio State on Mar. 24. The Tritons went 4-1 against non-MPSF teams this season with wins over Cal Baptist, Hope International, Princeton and Ohio State and a loss vs. Cal Baptist.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara dropped two spots to No. 8 in this week's AVCA poll after being swept by NAIA opponent Cal Baptist on Mar. 24. The Gauchos have lost four of their last six matches, just three of those being MPSF tilts. UCSB is currently in fifth place in the league but has not yet secured a spot in the MSPF Tournament. Middle blocker Scott Slaughter is second in hitting percentage among all MPSF players at .467. Setter Vince Devany ranks second in assists with 11.41/set. Outside hitter Jeff Menzel leads the Gauchos offensively, averaging 3.84 kills and 4.38 points/set. Libero Andy McGuire has 156 digs, an average of 2.14 per set. UCSB is hitting a solid .332 as a team compared to opponents' .290. The Gauchos are getting out-played at the net as opponents are putting up 2.41 blocks per set to their 1.98 average.
The Tritons and Gauchos met on Jan. 14 in La Jolla with UC Santa Barbara picking up a sweep by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21. The Gauchos hit a smoking .407 while the Tritons checked in at .194. UCSD was out-blocked, 9-3. Opposite Shane Veiga led UC San Diego with 12 kills and middle Sebastian Brady hit .778 with seven kills and no errors in nine attacks. Opposite Cullen Irons and outside Jeff Menzel put up 12 kills apiece for UCSB and Irons tallied a double-double by adding 11 digs.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
The fifth-ranked Bruins enter the week in eighth place in the MPSF, still looking to clinch one of the final three spots in the MPSF Tournament. UCLA, which plays at UC Irvine Wednesday night, has won its last seven matches, four of those coming via sweep. Middle blocker Weston Dunlap leads the MPSF with his .488 attack percentage. He leads the Bruins with 2.67 kills/set and 280 total points. Outside Gonzalo Quiroga is just behind Dunlap, averaging 2.65 kills/set with 279.5 points. Quiroga also has a team-high 33 service aces. The Bruins are attacking at .310 compared to opponents, which are at .274.
UCSD and UCLA have already met twice this season. In fact, the last match that each team played was against each other. On Mar. 26 in La Jolla, the Bruins hit .346 en route to a 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21 victory at RIMAC Arena. Carl Eberts had match-highs with 14 kills and 16 points for UCSD, while Phil Bannan had four aces. Gonzalo Quiroga led UCLA with 12 kills and Weston Dunlap finished with 10. Libero Tom Hastings had a match-high 10 digs. The teams also met back on Jan. 7 at UC Santa Barbara's annual tournament. In the opening match of the season for both teams, UCLA won 3-1, backed by a .424 attack and eight service aces. Two Tritons had double-digit kill totals as Shane Veiga led with a match-high 14 and Joel Davidson finished with 10.
The Tritons remain on the road next week with matches at Cal State Northridge on Apr. 7 and at Long Beach State on Apr. 9. They'll close out the regular season at home against UC Irvine on Apr. 16.
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