PHOENIX, Ariz. - In the first ever meeting between the two teams, the UC San Diego men's volleyball squad outlasted New Jersey Institute of Technology to win in five sets Saturday afternoon at GCU Arena on the campus of Grand Canyon University.
Scores of the non-conference match were 21-25, 25-21, 26-24, 20-25 and 15-13. UCSD improved to 2-2 overall and NJIT dropped to 0-2.
The match was tight throughout. UCSD attacked at .287 (67-24-15) and totaled 11.5 blocks, while NJIT hit .267 (57-18-146) and were equally as good at the net, also recording 11.5 blocks. NJIT held a slight 69% to 68% advantage in the sideout battle, but the Tritons out-dug the Highlanders 61-54 and had a .425 assist percentage compared to NJIT's .373.
UCSD's .287 attack percentage was its second highest of the season, behind the .333 (41-13-84) it hit in an upset win at Hawaii last week.
The Tritons made 21 service errors and the Highlanders weren't far behind with 19 of their own.
Sophomore setter Mike Brunsting paced the UCSD offense, collecting 55 assists and 12 digs, both career-highs. Outside hitter Carl Eberts also completed a double-double with 15 kills and 11 digs. The performances were the first two double-doubles recorded by the Tritons this season.
Outside hitter Vaun Lennon had a solid all-around outing for UCSD, finishing with a match-best 22 kills and adding nine digs and four blocks - all career-highs. Lennon amassed 24.5 points, also a career-high. Middle blocker Greg Smith hit .600 with 10 kills and only one error in 15 attacks. Fellow middle Sebastian Brady had nine kills and five blocks.
Defensively, the 12 digs each for Brunsting and libero Chase Frishman led all players.
"Vaun did a lot of work for us today," said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. "He really carried a big load for us, finishing with 49 swings."
For NJIT, TJ Jurko had 15 kills, Herman Kantushov had 14 and Adam Gustufson finished with 13. Gustafson added 11 digs for a double-double of his own.
"Both teams had a hard time sustaining runs today," said Ring. "We just made some key plays down the stretch that really made the difference for us."
The Tritons remain in Phoenix to play another non-conference match, this one against Grand Canyon, at 1 p.m. PT. GCU defeated the Highlanders 3-1 Saturday night. Sunday's match will feature a live video stream as well as live stats.
- UCSDtritons.com -