UC San Diego @ Grand Canyon University—Phoenix, AZ
Friday, Jan. 26 marked an incredible date for the UC San Diego men’s volleyball team at Antelope Gymnasium in Phoenix, AZ. Although falling to No. 11 Grand Canyon University in four matches, UCSD found a silver lining — senior setter Milosh Stojcic recorded his 2000th career assist in the blue and gold. Only five other players in program history have matched Stojcic’s milestone.
The sets were scored tightly (25–22, 22–25, 25–17, and 25–22), but the Tritons could not seem to close the door with the match point in site when it mattered most.
Alongside Stojcic’s 37 assists and 10 digs, senior outside hitter Tanner Syftestad put on yet another show, contributing 21 kills on the night including the one that secured Stojcic’s achievement.
Filling all statistical categories, senior outside hitter Luke La Mont filled the scorecard with scattered numbers. La Mont listed five kills, two assists, two service aces, and three assisted blocks.
After dropping the first set, UCSD bounced back to make it even at 1–1. Heading into the third, GCU began to pull away after an early 5–0 run. The Tritons failed to regain momentum with the third set resulting in their least amount of kills (nine).
Redshirt senior middle blocker Bryan Zhu and junior outside hitter Nathan Thalken both tallied six kills and a combined five digs. Zhu also had four block assists.
The Tritons performed their highest attack percentage of .409 in the fourth set, yet the Antelopes were unphased, holding a home court advantage of 1016 filling the stadium. Appearing off the bench, redshirt junior middle blocker, Drew Sloane came in attacking hard, totaling three kills and one block assist.
UC San Diego @ Ottawa University Arizona — Phoenix, AZ
Just a day later, in the same Antelope Gymnasium, UCSD defeated Ottawa University Arizona, 3–1, with the set scores as follows: 23–25, 30–28, 26–24, and 25–16.
The Tritons lost a competitive first set, holding the lead in crunch time 22–21; however, they watched as OUAZ pulled away moments later. The loss lit a fire under the UCSD bench as it would continue on to sweep the next three sets.
Syftestad was clutch all night, tallying another season-best of 27 kills, as well as 12 digs and seven block assists. In 50 total attempts, Syftestad committed just one attack error, expressing a .520 attack percentage with the victory.
The Tritons were smooth sailing through the fourth set. Taking its biggest lead early in a 7–0 start, UCSD refused to retreat.
Sloane produced the most points behind Syftestad for the Tritons. Sloane’s 11.5 accumulated from five kills, one service ace, and 5.5 blocks. Stojcic added another 41 to his assist count and nine digs on the defensive end.
Not far behind Sloane, Thalken documented eight kills and 10 digs. UCSD had a combined total of 14.5 team blocks versus 7.5 for OUAZ.
With the weekend split to two non-conference teams, UCSD’s record improves to 6–2 overall. The Tritons will be happy to return home for a Wednesday night showdown against Princeton University on Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.