Outside hitter Aaron Koubi, playing as a graduate student, put down 11 kills with just one error and third-seeded UC Irvine survived an early scare to sweep sixth-seeded UC San Diego 26-24, 25-15, 25-14 in today’s opener of the Big West men’s volleyball tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Anteaters (18-10) advance to Friday’s second semifinal, where they will face second-seeded Hawaii (25-2). The Tritons (7-20) got seven kills from sophomore hitter Wyatt Harrison, son of former Rainbow Warrior Todd, in concluding their season.
In tonight’s second match, fourth-seeded UC Santa Barbara (18-9) outlasted fifth-seeded Cal State Northridge, 25-16, 25-27, 28-26, 25-13, 15-9. The Gauchos will meet top-seeded Long Beach State (25-1) in Friday’s 5 p.m. semifinal.
Saturday’s championship is at 8 p.m., with the winner earning the Big West’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Sophomore hitter Joel Schneidmiller added 10 for UCI, winner of four straight. The Anteaters won the block battle 12-3 with 7-foot junior middle Scott Stadick finishing with eight, including four solo.
In Set 1, the Tritons had two set points, the last at 24-23. The Anteaters closed it out with a 4-0 run, including three blocks.