UCSD closed out a rollercoaster 2010 season with a string of tough home matches last week against steep competition. The final run began against the nationally top-ranked team Cal Baptist on April 14, then continued versus conference foes University of Southern California and Pepperdine University on April 16 and April 17, respectively.
Despite a difficult slate of opponents, the Tritons managed to send their seniors off on a high note. The match against Cal Baptist ended 25-30, 30-14, 30-28 and 30-26 in the Tritons’ favor, marking UCSD’s first win over the Lancers since 2005 and bumping UCSD’s record against Cal Baptist up to 4-11.
The first set started in favor of UCSD, until a late rally by the Lancers gave them the set 30-25.
The Tritons made amends for their first-set slip-up by dominating in the second. They took a quick 11-3 lead and allowed one attack error throughout the rest of the set, breezing through to a 30-14 victory.
The teams fought equally hard in the third set, tying the score six times and taking multiple turns as leaders. The last tie occurred at 28-28, right before Frank Fritsch and Calvin Ross created a set point for the Tritons. Fritsch’s kill sealed the set 30-28 for UCSD.
UCSD grabbed an early lead in the fourth set to finish the match quickly and cleanly. However, Cal Baptist retaliated late in the set by narrowing the score to 28-26, though UCSD still clutched the lead. Fortunately for the Tritons, Ross and Carl Eberts collaborated for a block and a kill, respectively, to give the team some leverage. Jason Spangler closed out the set 30-26 with a game-winning kill
Overall, the Tritons bettered the Lancers in the match, hitting a .304 average to Cal Baptist’s .218. In the second set alone, UCSD hit at a .706 average.
After a day of rest, the Tritons were back in action Friday at RIMAC Arena against USC. It was a close match, but the Trojans outlasted the Tritons in the fifth set for a 26-30, 30-21, 30-23, 26-30 18-16 match victory.
UCSD took the lead in the first set until USC came back to tie the set 13-13. There were eight more ties in the set — the last at 23-23 — before the Tritons took the lead on a Fritsch kill. A kill from Spangler and a USC error handed UCSD the set 30-26.
However, USC quickly turned things around, raising the intensity by dominating the second set 30-21. They continued their beat down into the third, out-hitting the Tritons .484 to .175 and winning the third set 30-23.
In the fourth set, UCSD took an early 11-4 lead, staving off an attempted USC comeback that did end up narrowing UCSD’s lead to a mere two points. However, The Tritons clinched it 30-26 in the end.
A decisive fifth set typified the back-and-forth nature of the match overall. A small 8-7 Trojan lead was quickly reversed — courtesy of a 3-1 Triton run — giving UCSD the lead. However, tied again at 16-16, a UCSD attacking error gifted USC the set 18-16, along with the match.
“We were disappointed in the match,” head coach Kevin Ring said. “We weren’t disappointed in our level of play, but the result. We worked hard and got off to a pretty good start. We played competitively and we played well in the match.”
After the close defeat to USC, the Tritons returned to face Pepperdine on Saturday at RIMAC Arena for their season-ending Senior Night celebration. For their final match, the Tritons came through to upset No. 3 Pepperdine 28-30, 30-27, 29-30, 30-27 and 15-12.
The first set was closely fought between both teams — evidenced by 19 ties in the set. Eventually, though, Pepperdine claimed the set at 30-28.
The Tritons started off the second set trailing 11-6, but fought back for a 14-14 tie. After taking a 20-17 lead, UCSD repelled Pepperdine’s attempts to even the set, holding on for a 30-27 win. The contest was tied at one set per team.
Quick to respond, the Waves took control of the third set. They claimed it at a sizable 30-19.
The fourth set was much far more difficult for both teams, and the lead fluctuated between the two. However, with the score tied at 21 points apiece, UCSD made a strong 9-6 run to take the set at 30-27, forcing a fifth set.
Fritsch played a vital role in the Tritons’ eventual victory, sending down five kills in the fifth set. UCSD maintained the lead throughout, and Pepperdine was only ever able to narrow UCSD’s lead to two points. After a kill from Joel Davidson, the Tritons took the set 15-12 for the match win.
“Winning Game Two was the key,” Ring said. “It can be the decider sometimes in matches. Through the match, we kept fighting and we sent it to Game Five.”
In addition to being a nice going-away present, the victory was also a monumental showcase in terms of individual accomplishments for the Triton seniors. Fritsch ended the night with 25 kills on .455 hitting, making him second on the UCSD career-kills list with 1,403 kills. Spangler added 14 kills in the match and finished with a total of 1,491 career-kills at UCSD — which makes him the school’s all-time career-kills leader.
The Tritons finished with a record of 11-19 this season, and 6-16 against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation teams. Although they did not reach the MPSF playoffs, Ring said he was encouraged by the improvement the Tritons showed throughout the season.
“The team has improved throughout the season, as well as in my five seasons here,” Ring said. “For next season, our goal is to try to get to MPSF playoffs.”
Readers can contact Jessy Jahangir at [email protected]
SWIMMING & DIVING — The Tritons inaugurated the newly repaired Canyon View Aquatic Center with a victory against their visiting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps opponents at the UCSD swim team’s Oct. 24 2009-10 season-opening meet.
“I am very happy where we are at as far as racing,” head coach Scott McGihon said. “This was an outstanding first meet.”
The Triton women emerged with a dominant 180-115 win, while the men’s team scored an equally impressive 197-97 victory over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps swimmers.
Collectively, the UCSD swimmers and divers won 23 of the day’s 32 events.
The Tritons had multiple winners in several individual events. Freshman Katherine Tse and senior Daniel Perdew both took the 50- and 100-yard freestyle heats for the Tritons, while junior Anju Shimura won the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events. Additionally, freshman Bethany Dong and senior Jereme Barnett-Woods both won the 500- and 1000-yard distance events.
The relay teams on both sides were equally successful. Shimura partnered with teammates Tse, sophomore Mercedes O’Brien and junior Jessica Ferguson to win the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:48.87.
The men’s team — which included Perdew, freshman Julius Espiritu, seniors Juan Pablo Carillo and Todd Langland — took the same event on the men’s side with a time of 1:34.05.
The meet marked the first official competition for the diving team. Freshman diver Tyler Runsten wasted little time making an impact in his first NCCA competition, winning the men’s one-meter and three-meter diving events.
He scored an impressive 290.85 in the latter event — despite the fact that the diving team has been unable to practice their full repertoire, because Canyon View had been closed for about a month.
“I wasn’t even sure what dives we were going to do,” Runsten said. “We haven’t been diving three meters due to the pool situation, so I just went for big dives. I have no regrets. I am proud and happy.”
McGihon was particularly pleased with Runsten’s performance.
“He was outstanding,” McGihon said. “Considering it’s his first meet as a first-time freshman, [it was] very impressive.”
Runsten said his performance expectations can be credited to his team’s cohesion heading into the season.
“The team thus far has been a great experience,” Runsten said. “I love this team. We hang out every night.”
McGihon said he would like to continue developing the team’s dynamic, and is keeping his eye on of the long-term goal of making the NCAA National Competition.
“We need to work on our level of focus,” McGihon said. “With the pool open, it’s better for everyone. We can enjoy some continuity and flow to training. We want to win these league meets, but preparing for the NCAA is the longer-term plan.”
The UCSD swim and diving team will look to build on last Saturday’s results when they visit San Diego State on Nov. 6, where the Tritons will compete against hosts Aztecs and Texas Christian University.
Readers can contact Vishal Natarajan at [email protected]