UC San Diego Upsets No. 9 UC Irvine


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La Jolla, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's volleyball team won its school-record ninth victory of the season in a 33-31, 25-30, 24-30, 30-25, 15-11 win against No. 9 UC Irvine on Saturday night in RIMAC Arena.

It gives the Tritons a two-match series sweep in 2008 against the defending National Champions. Additionally, it was UCSD's third consecutive victory, a first since moving up from Division III in 2000.

Jason Spangler led the way with a match-high 24 kills on .439 hitting. With the win, UCSD improves to 9-15, 5-13 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while UCI drops to 12-13, 8-10 MPSF.

To go along with Spangler's 24 kills, the sophomore outside hitter also recorded nine digs. Calvin Ross added 15 kills and six blocks while Gerald Houseman chipped in with 13 kills on .650 hitting and Frank Fritsch added 10 kills. Phil Bannan recorded 45 assists, four kills and seven digs.

Jon Steller led UCI with 22 kills, while Jordan DuFault added 14 kills. Aaron Harrell recorded 13 kills in 13 attempts without an error, good for a 1.000 hitting percentage. Brent Asuka dug a match-high 16 balls.

In addition to the record for wins in a single season for the Tritons since the move from the DIII level, it also marked a high for MPSF wins in a single season with five, and it marked the first time UCSD has ever swept an MPSF opponent.

This all coming just 24 hours after the Tritons defeated No. 8 UCLA for the first time in school-history.

The first game was nearly even all the way, with 23 ties and 13 lead changes. UCI led 29-27, but a service error and a solo block by Ross tied the game at 29-29. Bannan then slammed down an overpass for the 30-29 lead. UCI's Yoder recorded a kill after a Triton service error to give UCI game point at 31-30. After a UCI attack error, Spangler and Ross put up a block to give the Tritons game point at 32-31. Spangler came through with a solo block to end the game at 33-31 Tritons.

The Tritons continued their momentum in the second game, scoring eight of the first 10 points and forcing UCI to take two early timeouts. The Anteaters regrouped and went on a 15-5 run to take a 17-13 lead. UCSD could not recover and pulled only as close as three points the rest of the way. UCI took the game 30-25.

UCI controlled game three as well, hitting at a .323 clip, compared to just .188 for the Tritons. UCI took a 12-6 lead and neverlooked back. UCSD cut the deficit down to 23-20, but a 3-1 run proved to be too much as UCI took game three 30-24.

There were 10 ties in the fourth game, the final coming at 25-25. Joel Davidson came through with the tie-breaking kill for UCSD, which quickly turned into a 5-0 run to conclude the game and force game five.

In the fifth game, UCSD took a 5-2 lead as Spangler recorded two kills in the stretch. UCI scored three straight points to tie the game at 5-5. UCI came within 8-7 and later 12-11 before the Tritons went on a 3-0 run with the help of three straight UCI errors to close the match at 15-11.

UCSD is back in action on senior night when it hosts Cal Baptist on Tuesday, April 1. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. in RIMAC Arena. UCSD will honor its lone senior, Russ Hardy, in a brief ceremony before first serve.

Article courtesy of UC San Diego athletics.

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