Thursday night proved to be historic for the Anteaters and the Matadors, as both programs won their first-ever Big West tournament match in relatively easy fashion. #5 UCI eliminated UCSD in straight sets, while #11 CSUN defeated #12 UCSB in the nightcap in four sets.
#3 UC Irvine def. UC San Diego, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-16)
- UCI improves to 21-8; UCSD ends their season at 9-19
- UCI advances to play #6 Hawai’i on Friday night
- Long Beach, California
- Box score
- UCI recap/UCSD recap
Key Stats: For the second time this season, the Anteaters hit over .500 as a team, outhitting UCSD .551-.304. UCI’s efficient line (54-5-89) was no match for UCSD, even though the Tritons only had 9 attack errors in the match.
Stat Leaders: Stud opposite Karl Apfelbach led all attackers with 17 kills on .571 hitting while adding a match-high-tying two aces. Aaron Koubi also provided 2 aces to go along with his impressive attack line (8-0-12, .667) and a match-high 10 digs. Joel Schneidmiller added 9 kills in the balanced attack. Scott Stadick led the match with 2 blocks. Setter Dante Chakravorti led the attack, assisting on 42 of the Anteaters’ 54 kills. He also added 4 digs, 2 blocks and 2 kills.
For UCSD, Tanner Syftestad carried the Tritons again in his final match, finishing with 11 kills and 5 digs. Freshman outside hitter Wyatt Harrison pounded 9 kills in the losing effort. Senior setter Milosh Stojcic ended his playing career with 28 assists to direct the attack.
It Was All Over When: UCI showed up. There was little doubt in the outcome, as the .551 hitting percentage was a season-high for UCI, despite having a season-low 3 blocks. UCSD has now lost 16 straight to the Anteaters. Additionally, this was UCSD’s first post-season match since April of 2000 when they won the NCAA Division III Invitational title.
#11 CSU Northridge def. #12 UC Santa Barbara, 3-1 (25-18, 30-28, 12-25, 28-26)
- CSUN improves to 16-10; UCSB ends their season at 11-13
- CSUN advances to play #1 Long Beach Friday night
- Long Beach, California
- Box score
- CSUN recap/UCSB recap
Key Stats: It wasn’t pretty, but the Matadors pulled out a four-set win over UCSB despite being outhit (52-48, .181-.169), outblocked (13.5-10) and outdug (44-42). The Matadors led the ace department, 5-3.
Stat Leaders: The majority of CSUN’s offense went through Arvis Greene and Dimitar Kalchev who provided 20 and 15 kills, respectively. No other Matador had more than 4 kills. Kalchev finished with a team-high 6 blocks, 3 digs and a match-high 3 aces, while Greene’s efficiency (.364) was his M.O. Setter Sam Porter directed the Matador attack with a match-high 42 assists to go with his 8 digs. Libero Emmett Enriques led all floor defenders with 12 digs.
For UCSB, Corey Chavers led all attackers with 21 kills (hitting .385) on the night in only 3 sets of work, coming off the bench in the second set. He also added 7 digs. Keenan Sanders was the only other Gaucho to finish with more than 5 kills, pounding 10 in the loss. Sanders also added 6 digs and 4 blocks. Setters Randy DeWeese and Casey McGarry split setting duties with 28 and 11 assists, respectively. Connor Drake led all net defenders with 8 blocks. Three Gauchos shared the team-high in digs at 9; DeWeese, libero Grady Yould and Roy McFarland.
Although a bittersweet loss, the future is bright; UCSB’s entire roster returns in 2019.
It Was All Over When: Set four was looking more and more like set two in that no team had a decided edge. Both sets went extra points, and set 4 finally saw a dent in UCSB’s armor after a 22-all tie. Both teams sided out 4 times each to get to 26-all, with CSUN earning each match point in the process. As expected, Arvis Greene got kills on the final two points to earn the win.
CSUN now advances to the Big West semifinals, where #1 Long Beach awaits.