LA JOLLA, Calif. - In the first of a pair of matches between the two teams this week, UC San Diego was swept by No. 3 BYU in men's volleyball action Thursday night at RIMAC Arena. Scores were 27-25, 25-21 and 25-20 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match.
BYU, which dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the country in this week's poll, improved to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the league. The Cougars were coming off two losses vs. Stanford in Provo. UCSD dropped to 3-8 overall and 1-5 in the MPSF.
The Cougars have played their last three matches without star outside hitter Taylor Sander, who broke his hand prior to the two Stanford matches. The 2011 MPSF Freshman of the Year, Sander has won two of the five MPSF Player of the Week honors so far this season.
Neither team had a strong night offensively as BYU ended up hitting .165 (34-17-103) to UCSD's dismal .095 (34-24-105). The Cougars had a better passing game and put up a .981 reception percentage to the Tritons' .933. They also held a 12.5-8 advantage in blocks.
Outside hitter Carl Eberts was the lone Triton with 10 or more kills as he led the team with 12. Middle blocker Sebastian Brady had four kills, two digs and five big blocks, two of them solos. Setter Mike Brunsting had a team-high eight digs.
Rob Stowell led all players with 13 kills for BYU. Russ Lavaja hit .400 with five kills and one error in 10 attacks, while Tyler Albertson had a match-high 10 digs. Lavaja had six blocks and Futi Tavana and Albertson each contributed four.
BYU hit -.056 (7-9-36) in the opening set, but strung together an 8-1 run to put it up 21-18. The Tritons had one set point at 24-23, but couldn't put it away. At 25-25, the Cougars won the set with a kill from Lavaja and a UCSD hitting error.
The Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and never relinquished the lead. After being down six at 18-12, the Tritons scored five of the next six points to get within two at 19-17. They also had the deficit cut to two points at 20-18 and 21-19, but two straight BYU points essentially sealed the win in the set.
The final set proved to be the best offensive frame by each team as UCSD hit .207 (11-5-29) and BYU swung at .351 (16-3-37). The Cougars won the first point of the set on a kill by Stowell. From there on out, BYU never trailed and UCSD tied it just three times the rest of the way, the final time at 10-10.
UCSD is now 0-36 all-time against BYU, the lone MPSF team that the Tritons have yet to defeat. in 2011, a match in Provo was won by the Cougars in five sets. It was the first time UCSD had won more than one set against them.
The two squads play a rematch Saturday at 1 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. UCSD students are admitted free to all regular season home matches. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors, visiting students and Alumni Association members.
- UCSDtritons.com -