Match No. 6
UCSD (2-3, 1-1) at No. 2 UC Irvine (4-2, 0-2)
Saturday, January 21 • 2 p.m. (PT)
Bren Center • Irvine, Calif.
All-time series vs. UC Irvine – UCI leads 33-7
First Meeting – 3/1/89 (UCI 3-0)
Last Meeting – 4/16/11 (UCI 3-0)
2011 Series – have not met
Last UCSD Win – 1/12/11 (3-1)
Current Streak – lost 1
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Tritons Go 1-2 in Busy Week
Last week was jammed with three matches - one at home and two on the road. It started Jan. 11 as the Tritons hosted No. 14 Loyola and fell in straight sets by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 27-25. Vaun Lennon had 13 kills and a career-high four service aces, but LCU hit .325 compared to UCSD's .155 attack percentage. Kevin McGinnis had a career-best 12 digs.
The Tritons then took off for Phoenix, where they first faced non-conference opponent New Jersey Institute of Technology on the campus of Grand Canyon University on Jan. 14. In the first ever meeting between the two squads, the Tritons took down the Highlanders in five sets by scores of 21-25, 25-21, 26-24, 20-25 and 15-13. The Tritons out-dug the Highlanders 61-54 and held a .425 assist percentage compared to NJIT's .373 clip. Mike Brunsting paced the UCSD offense, collecting a career-high 55 assists to go along with a career-best 12 digs. Lennon had a monster match, leading all players with 22 kills while adding nine digs and four blocks, all career-highs.
The next day, UCSD played Grand Canyon on its home court and suffered a three set loss by scores of 25-21, 25-21 and 25-19. Carl Eberts and Lennon each had 11 kills, but the Antelopes hit a solid .304 to UCSD's .202 attack. Service errors plagued both teams as the Tritons committed 18 and GCU had 13.
UCSD Earns Votes Again in AVCA National Poll
For the third straight week, the Tritons received votes and points in the AVCA national poll (Jan. 16), but did not jump into the top 15. MPSF schools own 11 of the 15 spots again this week. For the second consecutive week, the top two spots in the poll swapped. BYU moved back into the top position after defeating No. 2 UC Irvine twice at the Bren Center in Orange County. UCLA, Stanford and USC round out the top five. UCSD finished the 2011 season ranked 14th and climbed as high as 11th.
Looking Back to Twenty Eleven
Last season, UCSD and UC Irvine split the two conference match-ups. On Jan. 12, the Tritons, unranked at the time, battled for a 3-1 upset over the seventh ranked Anteaters in Irvine. Scores were 16-25, 25-19, 25-22 and 30-28 as UC San Diego won its season opening MPSF match for the first time since 2004. The Tritons put down nine aces, five of those coming from Phil Bannan, while the Anteaters had 15 blocks to hold UCSD to a .189 attack percentage. UCI had won the previous five meetings between the two teams going back to 2008.
UC Irvine avenged the loss with a 3-0 win in La Jolla on Apr. 16, the final match of the season for UCSD. UCI picked up its fifth consecutive victory with the 25-19, 25-15 and 25-21 win. The Anteaters put up a strong attack with 38 kills and just eight errors in 70 attacks, good for a .429 hitting percentage. The tritons swung at .237 (38-19-80) and had 14 miscues from the service line.
How are the Anteaters Doing?
Well, they fell from No. 1 in the country to No. 2 this week after dropping a pair of league matches against BYU, which was No. 2 but regained the top spot in the latest poll with the wins. The Anteaters were swept in the first match. In the second, they were down two sets to zero, but rallied to win sets three and four, only to fall 15-9 in the fifth and deciding frame. Overall, UCI is 4-2, collecting three victories at UC Santa Barbara’s annual tournament. The Anteaters defeated BYU, Long Beach State and UCLA to top the field at the tournament. Outside Jeremy Dejno was named the tournament’s MVP. UC Irvine opened its regular season with a sweep of Cal Baptist. Carson Clark recently became the school’s all-time leader in aces.
Newbies Hit the Floor
Several Tritons saw their first action of the season last week including Chase Frishman, Cheyne Hayes, Tien Le and Troy Tomasello. Hayes, Le and Tomasello all made their UCSD debuts in the Jan. 11 match against Loyola. Hayes went on to have a solid outing at Grand Canyon on Jan. 15, totaling seven kills, eight digs and a block.
On Jan. 6, UCSD upset No. 11 Hawaii in straight sets for its first ever victory over the Warriors in Honolulu. It was also the first time in program history that the Tritons swept the Warriors. Scores were 25-21, 25-21 and 25-22 at the Stan Sheriff Center as Carl Eberts led UCSD with 14 kills, three aces, three digs and five blocks. He hit .478 and totaled a match-high 19.5 points. Greg Smith had a career-high seven blocks.
Replacing a Couple of Record Holders
The Tritons will be looking to fill the adidas of setter Phil Bannan and middle blocker Calvin Ross, who were seniors in 2011. One of the most prolific players to ever suit up for the Tritons, Bannan finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in assists with 4,399 as well as service aces with 110. He’s third in career blocks with 277 and fifth in career digs with 522. Bannan owns the top two spots on UCSD’s single season assist list as he collected 1,268 in 2009 and 1,265 in 2010. Bannan’s 47 aces in 2011 are the second most put down by a Triton in a single season. Ross ended his career as the Tritons’ all-time leader in blocks, totaling 361 between 2008 and 2011. He can also be found at No. 3 on the career attack percentage list, swinging a healthy .372 over four seasons. Ross’ .395 hitting percentage in 2011 ranks him seventh on UCSD’s single season list.
Brady, Eberts Hit the Books
True freshman middle blocker Sebastian Brady hit .383 in 2011, ranking him 10th on the school’s single season record list. Outside hitter Carl Eberts, a sophomore last year, amassed 173 digs last season, 13th on UCSD’s single season list.
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