RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- With both teams coming off tough losses to open their respective seasons, California Baptist University and UC San Diego put up a battle to claim their first wins of the year.
CBU prevailed to take the match 3-2 (25-15, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 20-18) to improve to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCSD falls to 0-4 on the season, 0-3 in conference action, with its fourth-straight defeat.
"It's nice to win, but at the same time, we made it a lot tougher match against a good team," said head coach Wes Schneider. "If we keep doing that, it's not going to result itself the way we want it to."
CBU opened the first set determined to establish the tone of the match, grabbing a quick lead. After the Lancers scored off three kills, Joel Blocksom added an ace to put the home squad in front 5-1, forcing the Tritons to call a timeout.
The Lancers continued to dominate as they racked up a 15-4 lead. UCSD battled to find two points, but couldn’t quite build enough momentum to crawl out of the large deficit.
With the Lancers in front 22-12, Blocksom took advantage of a rogue dig, powering it home for a kill. The Tritons tried to stay alive and answered with a point, but Brink put the game within set point and Johnson secured the 25-15 first-set victory with a kill that was too much to handle, giving CBU a 1-0 match advantage.
As a team, CBU hit at a .333 clip in the first set and held UCSD to a negative attack percentage (-0.043), allowing just six kills.
Just like he had in the first set, Johnson powered the first kill down as the Lancers opened with a 3-0 run. Looking to not let the game get out of hand, UCSD kept the set close and evened the score for the first time of the night at 10-10.
Tied once more at 18-18, CBU called a timeout looking to regain its composure. The Tritons buckled down defensively, however, and grabbed their first lead of the night at 19-18 and continued on to claim the second set, 25-20.
Shaking off the last set, CBU opened the third with the first two points, but the Tritons answered right back, saying they weren’t going to hand over this one so easily.
Neither team could establish a significant cushion until the Lancers scored three-straight kills from Blocksom and Brink, along with an error from the Tritons, to lead 20-17. Despite a little adversity, CBU prevailed to take the third, 25-22.
Hoping to keep the good times rolling, the Lancers found themselves on the wrong end of a four-point lead as UCSD went in front 11-7.
CBU battled back and tied the set at 14-14, but couldn’t quite take control of the set as the Tritons reached set point at 24-22 and took the set, 25-23, to force a fifth and deciding set.
The Lancers jumped out in front 3-0 in the fifth, but the Tritons evened the set at 7-7. As a battle ensued, UCSD reached match point first at 14-13, but Brink drilled down a kill to keep CBU in the game.
Again at match point, Brett Anderson made a crucial dig to keep his team in the game and Brink found his 24th kill of the night to tie the set at 15-15.
Neither team could end the game, despite bringing the score within match point. With the Lancers in front 19-18, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Blocksom teamed up to set up a wall and deny a Triton attempt, ending the set at 20-18 and handing CBU the win.
"It's a young team and we're still working on some things," said Schneider. "We're getting there."
The Lancers have one day’s rest before facing local MPSF-foe UC Irvine on the road Saturday before a three-match home stand. First serve is slated for Saturday at 7 p.m.
"We need to keep improving on some of the things we're losing focus on and keep consistent sideout," said Schneider. "We can battle with great teams, we know that, but we need to stay consistent in all aspects of the game and improve on the things we're trying to improve on."