LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 13th-ranked UC San Diego men's volleyball team was firing on all cylinders Saturday and turned in one of its best performances of the season, sweeping No. 15 UC Santa Barbara in league action at RIMAC Arena. Scores were 25-21, 25-18 and 25-17.
With its fifth consecutive victory, UCSD elevated its overall record to 8-16 and is now 6-13 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). UCSB has lost its last eight contests and dropped to 5-17 overall and 3-15 in the league.
The Tritons hit .420 with 47 kills and 10 errors in 88 attacks. It was the team's highest attack percentage since swinging at .477 (50-8-88) in a sweep at Stanford on Feb. 11, 2011.
UCSD out-blocked Santa Barbara 11 to 4.5 and held the Gauchos to a paltry .158 (35-20-95) attack. The Tritons sided-out 73% of the time, converted more than 50% of their sets and held a .905 serving percentage, committing just seven errors in 74 attempts from the line.
Individually, several Tritons turned in stellar numbers. Outside hitter Vaun Lennon set a new career-high by hitting .632 with 13 kills and only one error in 19 attacks. He had both of UCSD's service aces, dug six balls and finished with 15.5 points. Fellow outside Carl Eberts led all players with 16 kills and 19.5 points. He hit .393 (16-5-28) while adding six digs and five blocks.
For the 10th straight match, opposite Johl Awerkamp recorded a double-digit kill total with 13. Middle blocker Fred Stahl had six blocks at the net and setter Garrett Dempsey amassed 37 assists in 68 sets.
On the defensive side, libero Chase Frishman had a match-high 17 digs. He's posted 10 or more scoops in his last three matches, including a career-best 19 Friday night in an upset win over No. 3 UCLA.
UCSD never trailed in the first set and was behind by just one point very early in sets two and three before quickly recovering the lead.
With the score 15-14 in favor of the Tritons in set one, a four-point run essentially sealed the win. Lennon put down two kills and Awerkamp had a kill and a block in the run.
UCSB held an early 2-1 advantage in the second frame before five consecutive attack errors put the Tritons up for good. The Gauchos got back within one at 17-16, but UCSD ran off five unanswered points, including back-to-back Awerkamp kills, to run away with the set.
At 3-3 in the final set, Eberts had two straight kills and middle Sebastian Brady had a block to put the Tritons up 6-3. They led the rest of the way, finishing off the match with a four-point run backed by a kill and an ace from Lennon, a Stahl block and a kill by Eberts.
Miles Evans and Matt Marsh each had seven kills for UCSB. Evan Licht aced the Tritons three times and Chad Kingi recorded a team-high eight digs.
A 3-1 win at UC Santa Barbara on Mar. 9 coupled with Saturday's victory gave the season series to UC San Diego for the first time since 2009. The last time the Tritons downed the Gauchos in straight sets was on Feb. 29, 2008 in La Jolla.
UCSD had not won five matches in a row since 1990, prior to joining the MPSF. The Tritons actually had a pair of five-win streaks that year.
With just three league matches remaining, UCSD is next in action at No. 2 USC on Apr. 5 and at No. 7 Pepperdine on Apr. 7. Following a non-conference tilt against Cal Baptist at RIMAC Arena on Apr. 12, the Tritons conclude the regular season at UC Irvine, currently ranked first in the nation, on Apr. 14.
- UCSDtritons.com -