SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men’s volleyball team went 2-2 on the first day of the 50th Annual UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational on Friday and earned a spot in Saturday’s third-place match opposite the eighth-ranked host Gauchos.
The Tritons ultimately topped all tiebreakers among three squads with identical 2-2 marks in Pool B. First serve against UCSB on Saturday is slated for 5:30 p.m. inside Rob Gym. UCSD placed a program-best fourth at last year’s Asics Invite, and will look to improve on that performance following what will be its official 2014 opener.
All matches contested at the 10-team tournament Friday were non-regulation best of three sets and thus exhibitions that did not count toward anyone’s overall record.
UCSD, IPFW and second-ranked UCLA all went 2-2 on Friday and 1-1 against each other. The tiebreaker thus went to a points system, with three points awarded for a 2-0 win, two for a 2-1 victory, one for a 2-1 loss and zero for a 2-0 defeat. The Bruins were slotted into fourth place as such, with five points. At six points apiece, UCSD edged IPFW for second in the group courtesy of the next tiebreaker.
The Tritons began their morning at The Thunderdome with a 2-1 loss (25-23, 21-25, 15-7) to fourth-ranked Long Beach State, which wound up as the only squad to go a perfect 4-0 at the end of the day. The 49ers won Pool B with 11 points and will take on surprise Pool A victor Harvard (3-1, nine points) for the tourney title at 8 p.m. Saturday. UCSD was the only team Friday to take a set from LBSU.
UCSD then swept IPFW (25-14, 25-20) before falling in straight sets to UCLA (25-19, 25-21). In its only match of the afternoon session, ninth-year head coach Kevin Ring’s side edged No. 14 Cal State Northridge (0-4) in a tight three-set affair, 25-23, 17-25, 16-14. The Tritons rallied from an early 4-1 deficit in that decisive frame before calling a timeout, knotting it at 6-6 and going on to take the narrow win.
UCSD and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe UCSB split two meetings a season ago, each team coming out on top on its home court. Live stats for Saturday's tilt can be accessed here.