UCSD fell to 6-13 overall and 3-11 in the MPSF. BYU, a winner of four straight at the start of the night, moved to 13-3 overall and 12-2 in league play. The first-place Cougars had stormed back from a two-set deficit to snap top-ranked defending national champion UC Irvine's 11-match win streak in Irvine on Friday night. Come Monday, BYU will leapfrog the Anteaters and settle back in atop the national poll.
Carl Eberts put down a match-high 15 kills to inch closer to reaching the 1,000-kill mark for his stellar career. The senior outside hitter also shared the match highs with two service aces and eight digs. Nick Iorfino joined him in double-digit kills with 10. Garrett Dempsey and Chase Frishman each also collected eight digs.
Taylor Sander led the way for the visiting Cougars with 14 kills. Freshman outside hitter Ben Patch, the reigning national and conference Player of the Week who produced an MPSF single-match high for this season with his 35 kills at UCI on Friday night, added 11 against the Tritons and also had two service aces, five digs and three block assists. The duo combined to hit .429 (25-4-49).
As a team, BYU hit an impressive .427 on the night with just six errors.
Patch's two aces came on successive serves in the opening frame to give BYU a commanding 19-13 lead and forced a second and final timeout by UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. A Patch kill would in fact later secure the set victory.
Though the Cougars again led from the first point on in the second game, it featured some thrilling action for the large crowd on hand and five tie scores.
Down 17-12, a cross-court Iorfino kill just inside the far corner followed by a Cheyne Hayes service ace brought the Tritons within range. Eberts rose to coolly handled a Cougar overpass for 20-19, and then spiked one off the BYU block to cap a run of four straight points and pull UCSD even at 20-20. Three of those points were served by true freshman Cory Swartzbaugh.
Moments later, Eberts dug out a free BYU attack off a Triton overpass, and Iorfino rewarded his teammate's effort with the kill. The sophomore outside hitter made it two straight kills on the next service for a 23-23 deadlock and BYU's second timeout.
First Patch and Iorfino, then Sander and Iorfino, traded kills to level the score one last time at 25-25, before a service error and Sander kill gave BYU the two-set lead.
The third game saw UCSD ahead for the first time at 8-7 on an Eberts kill. After a 9-9 tie on a Hayes kill, however, the Cougars rolled off the next five points on three Triton miscues and back-to-back Sander service aces, and suddenly it was 14-9 BYU.
UCSD kicks off a season-long five-match road stretch at No. 3 Long Beach State and No. 8 Cal State Northridge this Wednesday, Mar. 6, and Friday, Mar. 8, respectively. First serve for both contests is set for 7 p.m.
Triton Notes: BYU remained undefeated all-time against UCSD ... Saturday night's attendance was the largest at RIMAC Arena for a men's volleyball match since 1,012 spectators filed in to see the Tritons take on defending national champion Stanford on Mar. 5, 2011 ... With 15 more kills tonight, Carl Eberts increased his career total to 960, eighth-most in program history, as he vies to become just the fifth Triton ever to reach the 1,000-kill plateau ... Eberts turned in the 51st performance of his career with double-digit kills, and team-leading 12th this season ... Chase Frishman has 596 digs for his career, now tied with former teammate Jason Spangler (2007-10) for third-most all-time at UCSD ... Nick Iorfino reached double figures in kills for the fifth time in 2013 and 10th time in his career.
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