SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Middle blocker Fred Stahl hit .611 with 13 kills and six blocks as the UC San Diego men's volleyball team defeated UC Santa Barbara, 3-1, Friday night on the road at the Thunderdome. Scores were 19-25, 25-21, 25-23 and 26-24.
UCSD snapped a nine-match losing skid to improve to 4-16 overall and 2-13 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). UCSB lost its fourth consecutive match and dropped to 5-13 overall and 3-11 in the MPSF.
The Tritons hit under .200 in the first two sets, but turned it around in a big way and swung over .300 in sets three and four. Conversely, the Gauchos came out strong, hitting .542 in the first frame, but dropped into the negative in set two and never hit north of .300 for the rest of the match. Overall, UCSD finished at .246 (55-24-126) and UCSB was at .200 (48-25-115).
Both teams were aggressive at the net as the Gauchos recorded 15 blocks and the Tritons countered with 13. UCSD had 19 errors from the service line and UCSB had 13.
UC San Diego was superb in the middle. Stahl matched a pair of career-highs with the 13 kills and six blocks. His .611 (13-2-18) hitting percentage led all players. Fellow middle blocker Sebastian Brady hit .500 with nine kills and only one error in 16 attacks. The sophomore also had six stuffs at the net.
Joining Stahl with double-digit kill totals was outside hitter Vaun Lennon with 12 and opposite Johl Awerkamp with 11. Awerkamp, who has only played in eight matches this season, has had 10 or more kills in UCSD's last eight contests. Outside Carl Eberts had nine kills and a match-high 11 digs and setter Mike Brunsting amassed 40 assists.
UC Santa Barbara also had three players with 10 or more kills. Kevin Donohue had a match-best 15 while Miles Evans and Evan Licht each posted 10. Licht hit .533 (10-2-15) and added four digs and seven blocks.
"We had great production from our middles and Fred really paced our offense," said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. "Game three was critical and it set the tone for the rest of the match. We made some big plays to close out the match."
The Gauchos had won the previous four meetings between the two teams. The Tritons' last win came on Jan. 8, 2010 in a non-conference match at UCSB's annual early season tournament.
UCSD, in the middle of a six-match road trip, plays at Long Beach State Mar. 15 and at Cal State Northridge Mar. 16. The Tritons will enjoy a break before returning to RIMAC Arena to host UCLA on Mar. 30 and UC Santa Barbara on Mar. 31.
- UCSDtritons.com -