Photo by: Scott Flanders
Xander Jimenez

UC San Diego Drops Season Opener at No. 6 Pepperdine

UC San Diego

MALIBU, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's volleyball team came up short in its season-opening match Friday night, dropping a 3-0 decision to sixth-ranked Pepperdine.

Scores from Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu were 25-21, 25-18, and 25-18 in favor of Pepperdine, which improved to 2-0.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Xander Jimenez led UC San Diego with 12.5 points on 10 kills, two blocks (one solo), and a service ace. He also added five digs and an assist. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Vlad Pesic followed with 7.5 points on six kills and three block assists while hitting .545 (6-0-11). Outside Wyatt Harrison, a Big West Conference All-Freshman Team member in 2018, finished with seven kills and five digs. Junior libero Ryan Lew led the team defensively with a match-high seven digs and junior setter Connor Walbrecht totaled 28 assists and three block assists. Sophomore opposite Collin Shannon ended his night with six kills and four digs.

It was the first career match for five Tritons including true freshmen Shane Benetz (middle blocker), Blake Crisp (setter), and Berkeley Miesfeld (opposite hitter), redshirt freshman Gabe Avillion (middle blocker), and first-year junior Leor Schiffer (outside hitter). Benetz had three kills and Avillion, who started the match, added two while Crisp had three assists and Miesfeld had two digs, a kill, and an assist.

UC San Diego hit .207 (36-18-87) and Pepperdine swung at a healthy .425 (38-7-73). The Waves had 10.5 blocks and the Tritons had 5.5.

Michael Wexter led all players with 12 kills for Pepperdine. He hit .480, committing no errors in 25 attack attempts. Kevin Vaz collected six block assists.

UC San Diego makes its way east of the 405 Freeway Saturday to take on second-ranked UCLA at the John Wooden Center (7 p.m.). The Bruins are 1-0 after sweeping Princeton Wednesday.

The Tritons play their first six contests on the road before opening their home slate on Jan. 25 with a rematch against UCLA. The team kicks off its second Big West Conference season on Feb. 8 vs. UC Irvine at RIMAC Arena in LA Jolla. 

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDTritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDTritons), Instagram (@UCSDTritons) and Facebook (UCSDTritons). To stay tuned in to UC San Diego Men's Volleyball, follow the team's Instagram (@UCSDmvb).

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