LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego had difficulty finding any momentum on offense in losing a straight-set decision to No. 13 UC Santa Barbara in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men's volleyball match Friday night at RIMAC Arena. Scores were 25-19, 25-20 and 25-14.
UC San Diego, which has dropped five straight, all 3-0, since a five-match win streak, fell to 5-10 overall and 2-8 in the MPSF. UC Santa Barbara snapped its own seven-match losing skid and is now 7-8 overall and 4-8 in league play. The Gauchos had swept the Tritons at home on Jan. 13 in the first meeting of the season between the teams, who will remain close rivals beyond this year as they both move into the new Big West Conference in 2018.
Junior opposite and team tri-captain Tanner Syftestad led UCSD in kills for an 11th successive contest, with 10. He also collected five digs and two block assists while sharing the match high with three service aces.
The Tritons hit just .048 (24-20-83), with almost as many attack errors as kills. They were also out-blocked, 11.0-6.5.
UCSB senior Jacob Delson led all players with his 11 kills, completing a double-double with a match-high 12 digs. Connor Drake aided in the cause with seven kills and seven total blocks.
Bailey Militar served as the Tritons' primary libero for the first time in sets one and two in just his second collegiate appearance, in the absence due to illness of Ryan Lew. A third true freshman, Devin Pontigon (Oceanside/El Camino HS) was the libero in game three. Sophomore setter Ryan Blaich made his return to the court after an illness, taking part for the first time since Jan. 21. He missed eight matches.
UCSD was up 14-13 when the Gauchos rattled off the next seven to take a commanding 20-14 lead in set one. The Tritons used both of their timeouts during the stretch. Corey Chavers served seven of those points, with two of his three aces.
UCSD then held a 20-17 advantage in game two before another lengthy sequence of UCSB dominance, as the visitors scored the final eight points to take a 2-0 lead.
The Gauchos rolled those good vibes straight into the final frame, jumping out 8-2 before the Tritons called their first timeout. Another 4-0 run forced their final timeout, trailing 13-5 en route to being swept.
UC San Diego is right back in home action on Saturday night, Feb. 25, hosting No. 6 UCLA. First serve inside RIMAC Arena is set for 7 p.m.