LA JOLLA, Calif. – Middle blocker Kevin Wynne had a season-high seven kills and six blocks to lead No. 3 UC Irvine to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21) victory against No. 11 UC San Diego in the regular season finale.
UCI extends its winning streak to six and improves to 18-11 overall and 14-8 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCSD ends the year with a 9-20 overall and 5-17 league record.
Opposite hitter Carson Clark hit .588 with 11 kills while adding five digs and three block assists for a match-high 14.5 points. Outside hitter Jordan DuFault added eight kills and four blocks and outside hitter Cory Yoder added seven kills. Middle blocker Scott Kevorken had five block assists to go with three kills and setter Anthony Spittle totaled 29 set assists and four block assists. Libero Will Thomas recorded five digs.
The Anteaters recorded six blocks in the first set on their way to a 25-19 victory. The Tritons only managed a .121 attack in the set. UCI used a kill by Clark followed by five straight Triton attack errors, two of which were blocks by Wynne and DuFault, and a kill by Wynne to open an 18-9 advantage.
UC Irvine jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second set behind the serving of Anthony Spittle. A UCSD attack error plus a block by Spittle and Scott Kevorken and an ace by Clark gave UCI the 18-11 lead. The Anteaters won the set 25-15 behind five kills by Clark. UCI hit .667 (14-2-18).
The third set proved the most competitive as it featured seven ties. The Tritons got their first lead of the match at 3-2 on a Joel Davidson’s kill. Down 8-7, the Anteaters spun off three straight points to take the lead for good. Back-to-back kills by DuFault followed by a UC San Diego attack error opened the lead to 19-15. UCI took the set 25-21.
UC San Diego was led by opposite Shane Veiga and outside Davidson, who combined for 25 kills. Phil Bannan, the school’s all-time leader in assists and service aces, had 36 assists, six digs, an ace and a block. It was the final match of the season for the Tritons and the last career outing for four seniors.
Veiga led all players with 13 kills on a .500 attack percentage, and Davidson, one of the four seniors, put away 12 kills, the sixth time he’s finished with a double-digit kill total this season. Senior middle Paul Spitsen got the start and didn’t waste the opportunity. He set a new career-high with five kills and matched his career-best .333 attack percentage.
Bannan and libero Chase Frishman, both playing in their last match, each had a match-high six digs. Calvin Ross, who became UCSD’s career leader in blocks earlier this season, had five points on two kills and three blocks.
“It’s been a good four years,” said Ross, who finished his career with 361 blocks. “Playing with my teammates tonight is what I’ll always remember. I was nervous coming in, but it feels weird now to be done playing here.”
Bannan amassed 4,399 assists, 110 aces and 522 digs, making him just the fifth Triton to total more than 500 scoops in a season.
“It was a fun night with my friends,” Bannan said. “I really enjoyed being on the court with them and it was great to get to play with them tonight.”
UCI hit .429 (38-8-70), which included swinging at .667 in the second set. UCSD hit .237 (38-19-80) on the night and attacked at .300 or better in sets two and three. The Tritons had an off night from the service line, committing 14 errors and acing UCI just once.
The squads split the season series as UCSD upset UCI, 3-1, in Irvine back in January.
UCSD tied for a 10th-place finish in the MPSF with Cal State Northridge and Pacific. The Anteaters placed fourth in the league and will host fifth-place Hawaii in an MPSF Tournament quarterfinal on April 23.