UC San Diego Upsets No. 8 UCLA in Five-Game Thriller


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La Jolla, Calif. - LA JOLLA, Calif. - For the first time in school history, the UC San Diego men's volleyball team defeated No. 8 UCLA 26-30, 30-25, 32-30, 31-33, 15-9 on Friday night in RIMAC Arena.

The win was UCSD's first over the Bruins in 34 meetings. Jason Spangler slammed down a career-best 30 kills and Eric Leserman became UCSD's career-leader in digs with a match-high 19.

After dropping a heartbreaking game four, UCSD was on fire in the fifth game, led by Gerald Houseman's five kills. The Tritons hit at a .556 clip and held the Bruins to just .000 in the final game.

With the win, UCSD improves to 8-15, 4-13 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation while the Bruins drop to 14-11, 9-8 MPSF.

The eight wins for the Tritons ties a single-season school record.

In addition to Spangler's 30 kills, Russ Hardy added 14 kills while Frank Fritsch and Gerald Houseman added 12 apiece. Fritsch and Phil Bannan chipped in nine digs apiece. Calvin Ross led the Tritons with six blocks. Bannan also added 56 assists. With Leserman's 19 digs, he now has a career mark of 618, tops on the UCSD chart.

UCLA was led by Garrett Muagututia with 14 kills while Ryan Ratelle added 12 kills.

UCLA outhit UCSD .361-.188 in the first game. The last tie of the game came at 15-15 as UCLA went on a 9-5 run to open a 26-20 lead. UCSD closed to three points at 29-26 but it was too late as the Bruins took the first 30-26.

There were 15 ties in game two, the last coming at 23-23. From that point, UCSD scored four straight, including a big block by Ross and Adam Levins and led 27-23. A UCLA attack error gave the Tritons the final point at 30-25.

The third game was tied 11 times and UCSD trailed 29-27 after a UCLA block assist. Out of a Triton timeout, UCSD pulled even after a UCLA service error and Fritsch kill. Tied at 30-30, Bannan and Ross recorded a block to give the Tritons game point. Fritsch served up an ace and the Tritons had the game 32-30.

In game four, UCSD built an 18-13 lead after a Spangler solo block. UCLA stormed back to tie the game at 21-21. With the score tied at 28-28, Spangler gave the Tritons match point after a kill. UCLA responded with a kill and a block to earn a game point of its own. A redcard was then attributed to UCLA, evening the score at 30-30 and giving the Tritons the sideout. Hardy followed with a kill to give the Tritons another match point. UCLA got back-to-back kills from Jeff Woodley to earn a game point. James Diefenbach recorded the kill to force game five at 33-31.

Game five was all Tritons. Houseman recorded UCSD's first three kills and UCSD led 5-2, forcing the Bruins to call an early timeout. The Tritons kept the pressure on with two more kills to lead 8-3 when the team changed courts. UCSD did not let the Bruins closer than 11-6 as UCSD closed out the match on a kill by Hardy at 15-9.

UCSD recorded 11 kills against one error in the fifth game, compared to just three kills and three errors by UCLA.

UCSD is back in action on Saturday, March 15 when it hosts No. 9 UC Irvine. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. in RIMAC Arena

Article courtesy of UC San Diego athletics.

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