After a lopsided 25-20, 25-17 and 25-20 home win over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara just 24 hours prior, the Tritons found the going much more difficult against the in-form Anteaters, who improved their conference-best win streak to eight.
The loss dropped UCSD to 5-11 overall and 3-9 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). UC Irvine moved to 12-3 on the season and 9-3 in league play. It was the first match-up between the teams in 2013, with a second date still to come at the Bren Center in Irvine on March 28. The ‘Eaters have now won four straight meetings.
Cheyne Hayes put down a match-high 14 kills for UCSD. Carl Eberts contributed nine kills on 16 swings without an error for a season-high attack percentage of .562, and added five digs and two total blocks.
For UC Irvine, Kevin Tillie (11, .444) and Jeremy Dejno (10, .692) reached double-figure kills with efficiency. Colin Mehring had five kills and a match-high five blocks.
A pair of three-point mini-runs got the ‘Eaters out to leads of 13-9 and 20-13 and force UCSD timeouts in the first set. They then hit .625 to take the second frame.
In the third game, the Tritons were down by as many as four again early at 14-9 before rallying to tie the score at 16-16 on the end of a four-point run that included kills by Hayes, Greg Smith and Vaun Lennon, and a Dejno hitting error. Following a UCI timeout, UCSD took a brief 19-18 on a stuff block by Smith and Lennon of Zack La Cavera.
The Anteaters tallied four of the next five points, however, with a kill and a pair of blocks coming from Mehring, including a solo denial of Sebastian Brady. Up 22-20, UCI allowed the 14th and final Hayes kill prior to a Hayes service error and Mehring ace for match point. Hayes' ensuing attack went into the net and the match was over.
UCSD is next in action at non-conference foe Hope International on Friday, Feb. 22. That match in Fullerton is set for a 7 p.m. first serve.
Triton Notes: UC Irvine leads the all-time series between the teams, 34-10, and has won four straight since a 3-1 Triton road upset on Jan. 12, 2011 ... With nine more kills tonight, Carl Eberts increased his career total to 923, ninth-most in program history, as he vies to become just the fifth Triton ever to reach the 1,000-kill plateau ... Chase Frishman now has 568 digs for his career, fifth-most all-time at UCSD ... Cheyne Hayes reached double digits in kills for the sixth time in 2013 and seventh time as a Triton ... At 3-9, UCSD is at the exact halfway mark of its MPSF schedule.
-- UCSDtritons.com --