LONG BEACH, Calif. >> Junior opposite Karl Apfelbach put down 17 kills to lead third-seeded UC Irvine to a 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 sweep of UC San Diego tonight in a Big West tournament opening-round match at Long Beach State.
The Anteaters (21-8) advance to play second-seeded Hawaii (18-7) in Friday’s first semifinal at the Walter Pyramid at 2 p.m.
The teams split the regular-season series at the Stan Sheriff Center, the Rainbow Warriors winning in four on Feb. 23 and the Anteaters winning in four on Feb. 25.
In today’s second semifinal, fourth-seeded Cal State Northridge (15-10) takes on fifth-seeded UC Santa Barbara (11-12). The winner moves on to play No. 1 seed Long Beach State (24-1) in Friday’s second semifinal.
Friday’s winners meet on Saturday at 4 p.m. for the BWC tournament championship and the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
UCSD senior opposite Tanner Syftestad had a team-high 11 kills in his final match for the Tritons (9-19).