UC San Diego upsets top-ranked Hawaii in Big West men's volleyball semifinals

Dave Reardon, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
·2 min read

Apr. 24—Now, all the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team can do is wait.

After visiting UC San Diego upset the national No. 1 and previously unbeaten Warriors tonight in the semifinals of the Big West Men's Volleyball Championship, coach Charlie Wade said he is confident UH will still receive an at-large berth to next week's NCAA tournament.

But the Warriors (15-1 ) won't know for sure until Sunday if they make it. NCAA selections will be announced then.

"I've learned not to overanalyze it, " Wade said. "Everyone's emotional after a night like this."—PHOTOS :

The Tritons battled back from a 2-1 set deficit and match-point in the fifth to win 22-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 18-16 at SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Wade and Patrick Gasman, who was high for Hawaii with 17 kills, both said the Hawaii home crowd would've made the outcome different if it had been allowed to attend. (No fans have been allowed to attend all season due to COVID-19 protocols.)

It was the first time UCSD has beaten Hawaii after 17 consecutive losses.

"We talked all year about our resilience, " UCSD coach Kevin Ring said.

Ring said it's the biggest thrill for him as a coach or athlete.

"It's right up there, it's gotta be the biggest. It's the biggest stage, " said Ring, who is an alumnus of the program, and was an assistant coach when the Tritons won a Division III championship. "I believe this it the top conference in the country, " Ring said.

UCSD plays No. 2-seed UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's championship match at the SSC at 7 p.m.. The winner gets the Big West's automatic berth in next week's NCAA championship tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

UCSD's Ryan McCauley was match-high with 18 kills.

The Tritons' Ryan Ka had three kills down the stretch of the final set.