Tritons Suffer Letdown After UCI Upset

    MEN’S VOLLEYBALL — The UCSD men’s volleyball team came off its 3-1 upset win against UC Irvine this Wednesday only to be taken in three against No. 5 UC Santa Barbara on Friday. The games brought the team to 1-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and 2-3 overall.

    “The things that we did well Wednesday night against Irvine, we talked about that and those are the things that we’re going to need to do well to win nationals and be really competitive in the MPSF,” head coach Kevin Ring said. “I don’t think there’s a hang over from that. I felt like we had an extremely good practice [Thursday] and we were extremely confident coming in.”

    The set scores went 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21. The Tritons came out strong and had the lead 5-4 in the first set.  The teams traded scores, but UCSD brought it up to 8-5 with kills by junior opposite hitter Shane Veiga and senior setter Phil Bannan. UCSD kept the lead but was left in the dust after a six-point run from the Gauchos.

    “We’ve got an inexperienced team, a young team, out on court and playing in those moments we had in game one,” Ring said.

    “We were playing better through the first half of that game, had a two- or three-point lead and then they scored a few, and that’s going to happen. An experienced team is going to recover from that, side out, be able to go back and score a few points. We just let them back in it and let them slip away at that point.”

    UCSB took the second set by force and, despite tying four times, the Tritons never led in the set.

    The third set was closer as the Tritons showed some signs of life, but a four-point run by the Gauchos would put the match out of reach.

    Bannan came up with 30 assists, three service aces, four digs and a solo block. Veiga showed a match-high of 12 kills and added seven digs. Freshman middle blocker Sebastian Brady led Triton offense, flooring seven kills with no errors in nine swings for a .778 attack percentage.

    But the Tritons hit just .194 (36-18-93) on the night, while UCSB left them stumbling with a .407 (41-8-81) clip.

    The Tritons will take on top-ranked University of Southern California at RIMAC Arena for a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Jan. 21.

    Readers can contact Hanna Rahimi at [email protected].


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