Volleyball (0-15) Still in Search for First Victory

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Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State both swept UCSD, which remains at the bottom of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference

The UCSD men’s volleyball team extended one of the longest losing streaks in program history last week, losing to Cal State Northridge and Cal State Long Beach both in three sets on the road. With last week’s losses, UCSD is now 0–14 overall and 0–13 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation series. On Wednesday night, the Tritons took on No. 15 Cal State Northridge in the Matadome, falling in three straight sets with scores of 25–20, 25–21 and 25–21.

Triton head coach Kevin Ring explained to the UCSD athletics department that going down early in the first two sets made it tough for them to get back in the match. The Tritons made runs in each of those first two sets but spotted Cal State Northridge too many early points.

UCSD hit 0.295 for the match but failed to sideout effectively.

“For us to better challenge our opponents game by game we need to sideout 68 percent and above,” Ring said. “We got great production from Eric Barber as he hit 0.533. After a slow start, Mike Brunsting got going and finished with 12 kills. Mathew Schnitzer was strong in the middle as he hit 0.444. If we can get three to four players all putting up good numbers in the same set, we’ll begin to win games and matches.”

On Friday night, UCSD fought No. 6 nationally-ranked Cal State Long Beach, an MPSF conference powerhouse. But the 49ers were too hot to handle for the Tritons who were swept again with scores of 11–25, 15–25 and 16–25.

“When you play a top caliber team you’ve got to keep your strengths as strengths,” Ring said to the UCSD athletics department. “Tonight, I felt like Long Beach was able to pressure us into making uncharacteristic plays. As the season moves forward, we need improved consistency as well as a level of competitive maturity so we can bring out our best against the best.”

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Eric Barber — whose 10 kills against Northridge marked a career-high — continued to put up good, offensive numbers as he hit 0.294 with seven kills. Senior setter Mike Brunsting also hit 0.263 with nine kills, while Redshirt freshman middle blocker Mathew Schnitzer hit an impressive 0.556 with six kills.

The Tritons are back at RIMAC Arena this week to host Grand Canyon University, a non-conference opponent, on Friday, Feb. 28, before resuming MPSF play against UC Santa Barbara the following night.