Tritons Open Big West Tournament vs. No. 9 UC Irvine Thursday in Honolulu
UC San Diego heads into the second annual Big West Tournament this week as the sixth seed. The Tritons open play by taking on third-seeded and ninth-ranked UC Irvine on Thursday, April 18 at 8 p.m. Pacific at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
The winner plays second-seeded and top-ranked Hawai'i in a semifinal on Friday with the championship match slated for Saturday.
It will be the third meeting of the year between the Tritons and Anteaters. UCI won both regular season match-ups, one in four sets, the other in five sets. The same two teams met in the opening round of the 2018 Big West Tournament with UC Irvine winning in straight sets.
UC SAN DIEGO SCHEDULE
Match 27 - Big West Tournament First Round
UC San Diego (7-19, 0-10) vs. No. 9 UC Irvine (17-10, 5-5)
Thursday, April 18 • 8 p.m. PT
Stan Sheriff Center • Honolulu, Hawai'i
Last Meeting: UC Irvine 3, UC San Diego 2 (2/14/19 at Irvine)
Big West TV • Live Stats • Tickets • Tournament Central
BIG WEST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 18 - First Round
8 p.m. PT: #6 UC San Diego vs. #3 UC Irvine
10:30 p.m. PT: #5 CSUN vs. #4 UC Santa Barbara
Friday, April 19 - Semifinals
8 p.m. PT: Winner 4/5 vs. #1 Long Beach State
10:30 p.m. PT: Winner 3/6 vs. #2 Hawai'i
Saturday, April 20 - Final
11 p.m. PT: Championship match
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE BIG WEST TOURNEY (0-1)
4/19/18: UC Irvine 3, UC San Diego 0 (first round at Long Beach)
LAST YEAR IN LONG BEACH
At the inaugural Big West Men's Volleyball Tournament in 2018, UC San Diego faced UC Irvine in the opening round and was defeated in straight sets. Scores were 25-18, 25-18, and 25-16 in favor of the Anteaters, who hit .551 (54-5-89) to the Tritons' .304 (33-9-79). Program great Tanner Syftestad led UC San Diego with 11 kills, while Wyatt Harrison followed with nine. Ryan Lew led the Tritons defensively with eight digs. The only other Triton on this season's roster to see playing time in the match was Xander Jimenez, who totaled two digs, a kill, and an assist.
CLARK AND CRISP NAMED TO BIG WEST ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Logan Clark and Blake Crisp were selected to the 2019 Big West Conference All-Freshman Team as the league announced its annual awards Monday.
Clark, a middle blocker, leads the team with his .325 hitting percentage. Over 20 matches, he is averaging 1.9 points/set, 1.4 kills/set, and 0.7 blocks. Twice this season Clark has put away a career-high nine kills and he established a new career-best with five blocks just two days ago in a conference match at No. 11 CSUN. Against Hawai'i, the nation's top-ranked team, he hit .727 with nine kills and just one error in 11 attack attempts. Facing Long Beach State, the second-ranked team in the nation, Clark registered seven kills and no errors in 13 swings, good for a .538 hitting percentage.
Clark, who was named the Big West Freshman Player of the Week in mid-March, is a Psychology major and a member of UC San Diego's Marshall College.
Crisp has seen action as a platooning setter in all 24 of the team's matches thus far. He has amassed 361 total assists for a 6.1 assists/set average. At UC Irvine, which was ranked third nationally at the time, Crisp racked up 49 assists and four kills, both career-highs. The night prior at home against the Anteaters, he finished with 45 assists. Crisp has totaled at least 20 assists eight times and has eclipsed 30 helpers in five matches.
A Biology major at UC San Diego's Muir College, Crisp was tabbed the Big West Freshman Player of the Week in late February.
UC San Diego has now produced three Big West All-Freshman Team performers as outside hitter Wyatt Harrison was recognized in 2018.
JIMENEZ HONORED FOR ACADEMIC PROWESS
Outside hitter Xander Jimenez was chosen as a National STUDENT-Athlete Day honoree this year and was officially recognized by the UC San Diego Athletics Department on April 10. Jimenez holds a 3.68 GPA as an International Business major. Off the court and outside of the classroom, he is part of the Team Up initiative that encourages elementary school students to become more active. His future plans include earning a master’s degree in finance as well as playing volleyball overseas.
RING GETS 100th VICTORY
With a 3-0 sweep over Lindenwood at RIMAC Arena on March 12, UC San Diego head coach Kevin Ring notched his 100th win with the Tritons.
LOGAN CLARK WINS BIG WEST WEEKLY AWARD
On March 19, Logan Clark was honored as the Big West Conference Freshman Player of the Week. The middle blocker helped the Tritons to a sweep over non-conference opponent Lindenwood by scores of 28-26, 25-23, and 27-25. Clark finished with seven kills and an impressive .462 hitting percentage with just one error in 13 attack attempts. He also contributed two block assists in the victory. Clark is the fourth Triton to earn a Big West Conference weekly award this season. On Feb. 25, sophomore opposite hitter Collin Shannon was named the Player of the Week, junior libero Ryan Lew was the Defensive Player of the Week, and setter Blake Crisp picked up Freshman Player of the Week honors.
BIG RANKINGS FOR THE BIG WEST
Five Big West Conference teams can be found in this week's AVCA National Top-15 Poll:
2. Long Beach State
3. UC Santa Barbara
9. UC Irvine
TRITONS SWEEP BIG WEST AWARDS
UC San Diego won all three of the Big West's weekly awards on February 25 as Collin Shannon was named Player of the Week, Ryan Lew was the Defensive Player of the Week, and Blake Crisp was tabbed the Freshman Player of the Week.
Shannon led UC San Diego in points per set (4.58), kills per set (4.00), and hitting percentage (.452) over two non-conference matches. He was second on the team in digs per set (1.50) and blocks per set (0.50). Shannon registered team-highs with 13 kills and 14 points at Stanford, the eighth-ranked team in the country. He also added an assist, a service ace, and a dig against the Cardinal. The night prior, Shannon totaled 11 kills, 13.5 points, eight digs, three blocks, and an ace at UC Santa Cruz. He hit .588 against the Banana Slugs, a new career-high.
Lew averaged 2.83 digs per set over the two contests. The junior libero totaled a match-high 11 digs at UC Santa Cruz and had six scoops to go along with a 1.000 reception percentage at Stanford.
Crisp, who started at setter in both of last week's matches, averaged 10.33 assists. He amassed 34 assists and led the Tritons to a .264 hitting percentage at UC Santa Cruz. He also added an ace and five digs. At Stanford, Crisp finished with 28 assists and two digs.
On February 14 at UC Irvine, Collin Shannon established new career-highs with 23.5 points, 21 kills, and a .500 hitting percentage. The 21 kills and 23.5 points are the second-most in a Big West Conference match this season.
SETTING NEW MARKS
In his first career start on February 8 at RIMAC Arena, freshman setter Blake Crisp racked up 45 assists, seven digs, three blocks, and 1.5 points - all personal bests - against UC Irvine. At UC Irvine on February 14, he topped his assists total with 49, the fifth-highest total in a Big West match this season.
X MARKS THE SPOT
Xander Jimenez set new career-highs with 16 kills and 17.5 points against UC Irvine on February 8.
FLYING HIGH OVER THE EAGLES
UC San Diego recorded several season highs in its win over Concordia on February 1, including kills (72), assists (69), digs (57), blocks (14.5), and points (87.5). In fact, the Tritons' 87.5 points were their most since totaling 90.0 against Pacific on April 5, 2013.
WHAT AN OPENER!
A near-record crowd of 1,648 was on hand as the Tritons opened their home slate on January 25 against seventh-ranked UCLA. The fan total was the second-largest since the program moved to NCAA Division II status for the 2000-01 season, just behind the 1,689 attendance on March 2, 2013, when UC San Diego hosted BYU. It was the third time since 2001 that more than 1,000 fans came out for a men's match at RIMAC Arena.
ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO
Roster | Schedule | Statistics
• Overall: 7-19
• Big West: 0-10
• Home: 4-9
• Away: 3-10
• Neutral: 0-0
• Against Nationally-Ranked Teams: 0-17
• Streak: Lost 6
• AVCA National Ranking: Not ranked
• Big West Preseason Poll: 6 of 6
UC SAN DIEGO ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Starters Returning (1)
• Wyatt Harrison (So., OH)
Primary Liberos Returning (1)
• Ryan Lew (Jr.)
Others Returning (10)
• Gabe Avillion (R-Fr., MB)
• Alex Biz (R-Fr., OH)
• Bryce Curtis (So., OPP/OH)
• Macune Gilruth (R-Fr., OPP)
• Xander Jimenez (R-Jr., OH)
• Connor Leech (R-Fr., OH)
• Vlad Pesic (R-So., MB)
• Collin Shannon (So., OPP)
• Sean Staskus (R-Fr., OH)
• Connor Walbrecht (Jr., S)
• Shane Benetz (Fr., MB)
• Logan Clark (Fr., MB)
• Blake Crisp (Fr., S)
• Ryan Ka (Fr., OH)
• Berkeley Miesfeld (Fr., S/OPP)
• Matt Palma (Fr., L)
• Marco Posada (Fr., OH/OPP)
• Leor Schiffer (Jr., OH)
• Michael Urdahl (Fr., MB)
TRITON DEBUTS THIS SEASON
Gabe Avillion: 1/4 at Pepperdine (2 kills, 1 block)
Shane Benetz: 1/4 at Pepperdine (3 kills)
Alex Biz: 3/9 vs. Stanford (4 kills, 2 digs)
Logan Clark: 1/5 at UCLA (2 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 2 blocks)
Blake Crisp: 1/4 at Pepperdine (3 assists)
Macune Gilruth: 2/2 vs. UC Santa Cruz (1 dig)
Connor Leech: 1/25 vs. UCLA (1 kill)
Berkeley Miesfeld: 1/4 at Pepperdine (1 kill, 1 assist, 2 digs)
Matt Palma: 1/18 at Lewis (1 dig)
Leor Schiffer: 1/4 at Pepperdine
Sean Staskus: 1/5 at UCLA (3 kills, 2 digs, 1 block)
SYFTESTAD SHINES IN FIRST PROFESSIONAL START
Former Triton Tanner Syftestad got his first professional start with United Volleys Frankfurt on Wednesday, January 9. The opposite hitter had 11 points on 10 kills and a block while hitting .421 to lead his team to a 3-0 sweep of Netzhoppers SolWo Konigspark KW. United Volleys competes in Germany's top division of the Bundesliga.
TWO FIRST-YEAR TRITONS COME IN AS AVCA HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS
Blake Crisp and Berkeley Miesfeld were chosen to AVCA High School Senior All-America teams back in June. Crisp was on the 10-player first team, with Miesfeld named to the 10-player second team. The duo, picked out among a record 97 nominations, are the first Tritons selected for the AVCA distinction since Tyler Bird made the first team in 2014 and Griffin Galvin the second team in 2013. Two Tritons are on the list for the first time since 2011, when Garrett Dempsey and Tien Le were both second-teamers. Only high school seniors whose head coaches are AVCA members are eligible. Crisp was subsequently also named to the 12-player VolleyballMag.com Boy's High School All-America Second Team in July.
CRISP COMPETES FOR U.S. MEN'S JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM
Triton freshman Blake Crisp was selected as one of 12 players and two setters on the U.S. Men's Junior National Team roster for the NORCECA Men's U21 Continental Championship in Havana, Cuba, from Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2018. He entered in the first set and played the remainder of the tournament-opening sweep over Nicaragua, helping the U.S. to a .479 attack percentage. Starting against Haiti, he aided the U.S. to a .440 hitting percentage and added his first two kills in another sweep, earning Off the Block U.S. Player of the Day honors. He then started and served three aces in a 3-1 victory over Canada to finish pool play a perfect 3-0. Crisp started in a semifinal defeat (3-1) to the Dominican Republic and had a pair of kills. He came off the bench to provide one kill in 3-1 loss to Canada in the third-place match. Ultimately, Crisp started three of five matches as the U.S. finished fourth with 3-2 record, totaling five kills and three aces. He was named the tournament's Best Setter, leading the event with a 5.00 excellent sets per game average and guiding the team to the tournament's third-best offensive efficiency at 48.63 percent.
ALL-BIG WEST HONORS FOR SYFTESTAD AND HARRISON
The first Big West Conference men's volleyball postseason awards included two UC San Diego representatives in Tanner Syftestad and Wyatt Harrison. Syftestad was a member of the All-Big West First Team, while Harrison was on the Big West All-Freshman Team.
SYFTESTAD WITH IMPRESSIVE FIRSTS
In 2018, Tanner Syftestad became the first player in program history to garner postseason recognition from AVCA, earning All-America honorable mention. He was also the first UC San Diego student-athlete in any sport named All-Big West and Big West Conference Athlete of the Week. In addition, the opposite was named VolleyMob All-America Third Team and VolleyballMag.com All-America honorable mention and was a repeat Off the Block (OTB) Division II National Player of the Year.
SEVEN TRITONS EARN BIG WEST ACADEMIC HONORS
Following the 2018 season, seven Tritons picked up Big West All-Academic honors including Alec Flowers, Xander Jimenez, Ryan Lew, Luke McDonald, Milosh Stojcic, Nathan Thalken, and Bryan Zhu. UC San Diego's seven honorees were second-most among the six Big West programs behind only Hawai'i's eight. To qualify, student-athletes are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, be at least a sophomore academically, and have competed in at least 50 percent of their team's contests. It was the seventh straight year in which the Tritons had at least six recognized at the conference level for their classroom achievements. For the third year in a row, Flowers had the team's top GPA at 3.69.
The Tritons will be playing in an updated RIMAC Arena this season as it recently underwent its first significant renovation in its nearly 24-year existence (opened in January of 1995). The project has modernized the arena and improved training and competition facilities for student-athletes. In addition, the venue will provide fans with a first-class live event experience. The renovation included new retractable seating, modern glass railings, and a VIP skybox. The arena’s most noticeable new features are the addition of a 50-foot wide Daktronics digital video display and scoreboard as well as state-of-the-art courtside LED scorer’s tables. A new video production facility was also constructed.
2019 BIG WEST STANDINGS
Long Beach State, 10-0
UC Irvine, 5-5
UC Santa Barbara, 4-6
CSUN, 3-7 (11-13)
UC San Diego, 0-10
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 4/17)
6. Attacks/Set: 28.26
25. Assists/Set: 10.79
30. Kills/Set: 11.22
30. Digs/Set: 8.04
35. Blocks/Set: 1.80
37. Aces/Set: 1.02
37. Hitting Percentage: .204
43. Opponent Hitting Percentage: .319
TRITONS IN THE NCAA STAT RANKINGS
(all matches through 4/17, top 50)
11. Ryan Lew, Digs/Set: 2.27
17. Wyatt Harrison, Attacks/Set: 8.03
33. Vlad Pesic, Blocks/Set: 0.92
36. Wyatt Harrison, Kills/Set: 3.28
38. Connor Walbrecht, Assists/Set: 5.96
40. Vlad Pesic, Hitting Percentage: .304
44. Wyatt Harrison, Points/Set: 3.63
49. Collin Shannon, Attacks/Set: 6.78
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE BIG WEST STAT RANKINGS
(league matches, final)
6. Hitting Percentage: .196
6. Opponent Hitting Percentage: .394
6. Kills/Set: 10.76
6. Assists/Set: 10.35
6. Aces/Set: 0.68
6. Digs/Set: 7.35
6. Blocks/Set: 1.68
TRITONS IN THE BIG WEST STAT RANKINGS
(league matches, final, top 10)
4. Ryan Lew, Digs/Set: 2.06
6. Connor Walbrecht, Assists/Set: 5.18
10. Wyatt Harrison, Kills/Set: 2.76
AVCA NATIONAL POLL
2. Long Beach State
3. UC Santa Barbara
9. UC Irvine
T-13. Concordia (CA)
T-13. Purdue Fort Wayne
15. Grand Canyon
RV: Princeton, George Mason, Ball State
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE AVCA NATIONAL POLL
• 4/8: Not ranked
• 4/1: Not ranked
• 3/25: Not ranked
• 3/18: Not ranked
• 3/11: Not ranked
• 3/4: Not ranked
• 2/25: Not ranked
• 2/18: Not ranked
• 2/11: Not ranked
• 2/4: Not ranked
• 1/28: Not ranked
• 1/21: Not ranked
• 1/14: Receiving votes
• 1/7: Not ranked
• Preseason: Not ranked
2019 BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL
1. Long Beach State, 36 points (six first-place votes)
2. Hawai'i, 28
3. UC Irvine, 26
4. UC Santa Barbara, 16
5. CSUN, 11
6. UC San Diego, 9
2018 UC SAN DIEGO REWIND
• Overall: 9-19
• Big West: 0-10 (6th)
• Home: 5-8
• Away: 1-10
• Neutral: 3-1
2018 FINAL BIG WEST STANDINGS
1. Long Beach State, 9-1 (28-1)
2. Hawai'i, 6-4 (19-8)
3. UC Irvine, 6-4 (21-10)
4. CSUN, 5-5 (16-11)
5. UC Santa Barbara, 4-6 (11-13)
6. UC San Diego, 0-10 (9-19)
2018 BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
The inaugural Big West Tournament was hosted by Long Beach State April 19-21, 2018 at Walter Pyramid. Sixth-seeded UC San Diego was defeated in straight sets by No. 3 UC Irvine in the opening round. Top-seeded LBSU swept Hawai'i to take the conference crown and went on to win its second national title and first since 1991.
HEAD COACH KEVIN RING
Now in his 14th season heading up the UC San Diego Men's Volleyball program in 2019, Kevin Ring currently owns a 100-294 overall record at the school. With a 3-0 sweep over Lindenwood at RIMAC Arena on March 12, 2019, Ring notched his 100th win with the Tritons. Ring got his start as the Tritons' team manager from 1989-91 before playing for the team for three seasons. He was an assistant coach for nine years and was named head coach in June of 2005. He has also been extensively involved with USA Volleyball. Ring earned two degrees from UC San Diego, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry in 1996, followed by a master's in Chemistry in 1998.
BIG (WEST) NEWS FOR UC SAN DIEGO ATHLETICS
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020 and will play a full Big West schedule that season. During the transition, UC San Diego will be eligible for National Collegiate Championships in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and men's and women's fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I Championships. Men's volleyball became an associate member of the Big West for the 2018 season and women's water polo will join the conference in the spring of 2020. Read the full press release here.
NCAA MEN'S VOLLEYBALL LANDSCAPE
The NCAA combines Division I and Division II teams into a single national championship, while Division III squads have a stand-alone championship. There are 47 Division I and Division II teams combined, with 38 of those making up five conferences. Another nine institutions are independent.
Long Beach State
UC San Diego (DII)
UC Santa Barbara
Belmont Abbey (DII)
Emmanuel (Ga.) (DII)
King (Tenn.) (DII)
Mount Olive (DII)
North Greenville (DII)
Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA)
Charleston (WVa.) (DII)
Saint Francis (Pa.)
Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)
Purdue Fort Wayne
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF)
Concordia (Calif.) (DII)
Alderson Broaddus (DII)
Lincoln Memorial (DII)
Puerto Rico at Bayamon (DII)
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (DII)
Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras (DII)
Queens (NC) (DII)
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
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The winner of the Big West Tournament earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship.
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 81 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).