No. 10 UC San Diego upsets No. 2/1 Long Beach State in five games

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego athletics

The drought is over for No. 10 UC San Diego.

UC San Diego rallied from a three-point deficit early in the decisive fifth game to upset No. 2/1 Long Beach State 16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 15-12 on Saturday in La Jolla, California, for the Tritons first win against the Beach in 10 years.

The Tritons fell behind 5-2 in the final game after back-to-back aces from outside attacker Alex Nikolov. UC San Diego, though, rallied to tie the game at 7-7 and then with the game tied at 11-11 closed out the match on a 4-1 run.


UC San Diego hit a match-best .500 in the fifth game and out-hit Long Beach State for the match .331 to .276.

Five Tritons finished with at least nine kills to split the two-match home-and-home series.

Outside attacker Kle McCauley led UC San Diego with both 17 kills and five aces. Outside attacker Ryan Ka also contributed 14 kills, while middle attacker Shane Benetz had 12 kills on a .556 attack percentage.

Nikolov in the loss had a match-high six aces and led Long Beach State with 17 kills.

Long Beach State entered this match one win away from clinching the Big West regular season championship and the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. Despite having its seven-match winning streak snapped, the Beach can still win the conference regular season title if it wins one of its final two regular season matches next week against CSUN.