Sports

Volleyball Has Tough Date With USC

The UCSD men’s volleyball team tested its powers in front of a Division I powerhouse on the road and found out where it stands — not in a very good place. The Trojans of USC downed the Tritons 3-0, winning the three games by scores of 30-21, 30-21 and 31-29. UCSD actually threatened in the third game, holding a 27-23 lead at one point. A great comeback was not to be, though, as USC battled back for the win. It was all USC as they out-hit the Tritons 0.291 to 0.079. Zack Hite and Griffin Cogorno were offensive highlights for UCSD, each garnering eight kills during the loss. Defensively, Donald Chen led the way with eight blocks. The Tritons will try to get back on the winning side of things this Friday when they host Pepperdine at 7 p.m. ...

We Could be Heroes, if We Played Well

One thing that gets me as a sports journalist and a sports fan is the way that sports commentators throw around the word “”hero.”” Too often, I will hear a television or radio announcer use the word when referring to athletes and their performances. More often than not, the performance is all but heroic. An athlete will do his job really well under difficult conditions, and he will thus be referred to as a hero. This is preposterous. A running back ran for over 200 yards with 40 carries during this year’s NFL playoffs. The announcer who was covering the game had the gall to refer to it as “”a heroic effort.”” Heroic? Please. Yes, it was difficult, strenuous, even gutsy. Hell, I know I could not carry the ball 40 times for over 200 yards against a playoff defense. I doubt many of you readers could do it. But if I could, would it be heroic? Hardly. Well, maybe if it were in the name of skinny journalists of average height, then it might be heroic. But otherwise, no. A pitcher will throw nine innings of one-hit baseball during a big game. It will be called “”heroic.”” Was it heroic? No, it should be called “”doing his job.”” The term “”heroic”” should be reserved for true heroes. The thousands who have died during wars in the name of America are heroic. Firefighters and policemen are heroic. A doctor who volunteers time in developing countries is a hero. Those scientists fighting AIDS are heroic. Santa Claus is heroic. Harriet Tubman was heroic. The list goes on and on. Heroes are those who help mankind, save mankind and try to better mankind. They are not football players who run for a lot of yards or basketball players who lead their teams to victory. They may look good, but not heroic. That is not to say that there are not athletes out there who are heroes. There are plenty of heroic athletes, and their heroism spreads beyond the field or court. The one that sticks out the most is Jackie Robinson. He went through so much shit in breaking the color barrier that few of us can understand. He is a hero not only to African Americans but to anyone who has experienced prejudice. Sean Elliot of the San Antonio Spurs is another athlete hero. He had a kidney transplant and still came back to play in the NBA. Before, if there was something wrong with your kidney, you were best off calling your lawyer to work on your will. Elliot proved that now, even though you may be down, you are never out. Magic Johnson is another such athlete, much like in the Elliot theme. He came back with HIV to play some more in the NBA. He now tours and raises money for various charities. Definite hero. All those baseball players who gave up the best years of their life to fight during World War II are heroes. Just think of what Ted Williams’ stats would have looked like, had he not lost those prime years fighting overseas. Can you picture that happening today, if the United States got into a major military conflict on the level of WWII? I can just picture the greedy self-congratulatory athletes of today complaining about how the war is interrupting their rhythms. The list of athlete heroes goes on. It includes the NFL’s work with United Way, Dikembe Mutombo and his work in his homeland of Nigeria, Arthur Ashe and his color barrier-breaking and AIDS-fighting greatness, and many more. A hero is someone extra special, one who does something extraordinary, something that goes beyond the regular bullshit. An athlete having a great game is great to talk about around the water cooler, but he is not a hero. ...

Women's Basketball Splits a Pair at Home

The UCSD women’s basketball team had mixed reviews this weekend, splitting a pair of games. Lyon Liew Guardian On Friday, the Tritons downed California State University Los Angeles 76-65 but fell Saturday night to California State University Dominguez Hills 50-49. The loss to Dominguez Hills was a heartbreaker. With four-and-a-half minutes left in the game, UCSD held a 46-38 advantage after an Ali Ginn bucket. The Toros stormed back after a basket by Tomica Coleman and a three-pointer by Fercia Rambacal, closing the gap to two, at 46-44. UCSD’s Maya Fok answered with a bucket of her own, but Dominguez Hills eventually tied it up with 44 seconds left at 48-48. With time running down, Toros star Tracee Lewis drove the lane and connected with an off-balance junk shot, giving her team the lead at 50-48. The Tritons still had six seconds left and they gave the ball to their star Fok. Fok drove the lane and put up a shot. Her prayer fell short, but she was fouled with only two-tenths of a second left. At the line for the evening, Fok had been 6-6, but all of those had come in the first half. She missed the first shot. In an attempt to miss the second shot and hope for a rebound and game- tying miracle shot, Fok made the foul shot. She would end the game 7-8 from the line. Fok led the Tritons with 17 points and Nicholle Bromley chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds. Against Los Angeles, UCSD had to work a little comeback magic. The Tritons found themselves down 38-33 at the half. They proceeded to go on a 43-27 run in the second half for the victory. Bromley scored 17 to lead all scorers and she had nine rebounds. Fok participated with 14 points. Genevieve Ruvald had a great game, almost accomplishing a triple-double when she scored nine points, had 10 rebounds and dished nine assists. Next up for the Tritons is a trip to Grand Canyon University on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. ...

Dude, Where's My Football?

Triton football. It has a nice ring to it. It sounds … almost natural. So, what happened? Melissa Chow Guardian It seems each incoming freshman class arrives with questions about the lack of a football team at UCSD, and most of these questions go unanswered because very few know the chain of events that has led UCSD athletics all the way to Division II without a football program. The UCSD athletic department has had its hands full in recent years with its transition to the more competitive Division II, and the discussion of a UCSD football team seems to have faded into the ether. Most of what is going around now regarding the history of football at UCSD are vague half-truths and rumors. Here are the facts: Triton football was once a reality. There have been numerous attempts to bring football back to UCSD in some way, shape or form, all of which were unsuccessful. The only full-contact football being played at UCSD these days is Chargers preseason practice. The outlook for a UCSD athletics-run Triton football program happening in the near future is grim. Here at UCSD, the ghost of football past is a tormented soul, indeed. Back in the fall of 1968 is when the hallowed story of Triton football begins. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from head coach Walt Hackett that any with a brave enough heart come out and join the newly instated Triton football team. The team was formed, and it played its first game against the University of La Verne. The mighty Tritons fell 41-6. Next came the perennial division powerhouse, Cal Lutheran University. The mighty Tritons fell 56-8. These scores pretty well characterize the mighty Tritons’ entire 0-7 inaugural season. The real humiliation though was UCSD’s game against Cal Tech. At that time, the Cal Tech football team was the bottom of the barrel. It was so bad, it literally hadn’t won a game in years. Though it was close (the only close game of the season for UCSD), the diminutive Tritons fell 34-31. Rumor has it there were parties at Cal Tech for years after on the anniversary of the win. Apparently the humiliation was just too much, and UCSD football was scrapped at the end of the ’68-’69 academic year. There was an effort to bring the team back for the fall 1971 season, but it has met with lackluster support, and the effort fizzled. That was pretty much it for Triton football until the late ’80s, when there again was a push to bring the gridiron back to UCSD. According to Bill Gannon, sports information director at UCSD, the A.S. Council put three referendums on the ballot. There was one each in 1987, 1989 and 1994, all of which provided for a small increase in student fees to fund a football team. He said that all of the referenda were officially supported by the athletic department and each garnered about 60 percent of the vote. None of them, however, passed. This is because two of the referendums needed a two-thirds vote, and the other required that 20 percent of the undergraduate population vote in order to form a quorum, which it did not. After that, the focus of the athletic department moved from football to the transition to Division II. “”The idea of a football program here pretty much died when the athletic department realized that Division III didn’t make any more sense,”” Gannon said. “”No [Division II] schools but Davis has a team … and no Division III schools would play us anymore.”” That didn’t stop some UCSD students in 1997 from starting a football club team on their own. The UCSD football club team was organized by students who simply wanted to play. The founders of the team manned tables in the Price Center and in front of Center Hall to recruit students to be on the team. According to early football club member Richard Downing, who graduated from Roosevelt College in 1998, their recruitment and organizational efforts met with some success and some hardship in the beginning. “”Overall we had a lot of support from the student body and even some of the administration,”” Downing said. “”But at times it could get pretty frustrating when we’d hear students laughing, or when people would come up to the table and ask ‘Is this a joke?'”” The team received little funding from the school, and the players had to pay for almost all the expenses. The club ended up playing two games — one in 1997 and one in 1998, both against Cal Lutheran University. The 1997 game featured a Triton squad 35-strong and ended with UCSD losing 0-66. According to former club team member Brian Halderson, who graduated from Warren College in 1999, they came expecting to play third- and fourth-stringers from Cal Lu. “”I guess they thought we would be bringing out a bunch of ringers, so we ended up playing their first string the first half,”” he said. “”The second half wasn’t nearly as bad [as the first].”” The second game also ended with a Triton shutout, but the margin was not nearly as wide, with Cal Lu coming out on top 35-0. After its original organizers graduated, the UCSD football club did not return in 1999, and there has been no UCSD full-contact football team since. The future of football at UCSD is unclear, at best. Since the move to Division II, the lack of football programs at this level make it very difficult to find teams to play without getting on an airplane for most of the away games. “”There are far more teams dropping football than adding,”” said Regina Sullivan, associate athletics director at UCSD. Also, federal Title IX regulations mandate that athletic participation be representative of the student population in terms of the proportion of men to women. According to Sullivan, that would entail adding three women’s sports, which would make the financial burden even higher. It seems the only way football could come back to UCSD in the near future would be in the form of another club team, which has its own drawbacks, mainly being the high costs of equipment and liability insurance. “”The money can be raised,”” Halderson said. “”The equipment can be bought. The fields are there. If like 60 students who wanted to play just got together and said, ‘We want to play football,’ it would happen.”” Downing believes it’s just a question of motivation: “”Do the people who want it want it bad enough?”” ...

UCSD Club Sports

Sailing Team The UCSD sailing team is hoping to finish the season on a high note. With the completion of the final three races, the team’s goal is to improve on its 10th place showing in the Pacific Coast Sailing Championships last year. The veteran leadership of Ben Dahlin, Sarah Rozycki, R.J. Ward and Rob Grant has tremendously helped the team so far. These experienced crew members have guided the Tritons to many victories over their cross-town rival, San Diego State University. Looking to improve its chances this season, the UCSD sailing team mixed things up by pitting different crew members with the skippers. At the Stoney Burke Regatta and Sloop Pacific Coast Championships in October, the Tritons finished in 12th place and sixth place respectively. UCSD sailing team members Grant, Sonya Sankaran, Glen Richards, Kim Leung and Matt Kyler yielded impressive results with victories over San Jose State University, Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Oregon. In the following month at the North/South Intersectional Regatta, the team battled hard in cold temperatures. Finishing 17th out of 20 total spots, the Tritons fared admirably in the 40-degree weather. The three teams that UCSD defeated were Pepperdine, SDSU and the College of Marin. Despite suffering a setback from the beginning because they were unable to use a Laser boat, the Tritons made good use of what they did have. Ward finished second in one race and Grant had a consistent fifth place showing in his events. With many members who can rise to the occasion, the Tritons have a positive outlook on the remainder of the sailing 2001 season Upcoming Events Saturday, January 20th *Men’s Rugby v. Stanford @ Stanford; 1 p.m. *Women’s Rugby v. UCSB @ UCSB; 11 a.m. *Men’s/Women’s Ultimate Santa Barbara Tournament @ UCSB; all day — Compiled by Gloria Chung ...

Women Drop Two During Tough Road-Trip

After a strong beginning to the season, the UCSD women’s basketball team has been on a downturn of late. David Pilz Guardian This theme continued last weekend as the Tritons lost two games on the road. UCSD was defeated by Cal Poly Pomona 93-76 on Friday and also lost to CSU San Bernardino 56-51 on Saturday. Friday, the Tritons faced a large task as their opponents, the Cal Poly Broncos, are ranked first overall in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. UCSD started out strong and looked as if they would run away with the upset victory, leading at one point by 13 points, 36-23, with 5:57 remaining in the first half. The Broncos made a run, though, and narrowed the game to 46-42 by the break. The Tritons never got anything going in the second half. Three of their players, including two starters, suffered with three fouls a piece heading into the final period. “”We stopped handling their pressure,”” said Triton head coach Judy Malone. “”We got into foul trouble. When you get into foul trouble, you don’t defend as well. They pressed the whole game.”” Cal Poly, too, had trouble, but their young but deep bench helped them out of the morass. It was all Broncos in the second half. Up 65-63, the home team rambled off a 20-2 run and never looked back. Triton star Maya Fok lead her team with 14 points, four assists and three steals. Ali Ginn scored 14, Nicholle Bromley added 12 and Ashley Kokjohn chipped in with 10 points. The Broncos were lead by Lauri McIntosh, who scored 16. UCSD had better luck against San Bernardino but still came up short. San Bernardino controlled the first half and boasted a 30-23 lead heading into the break. UCSD made a run during the second half. The Tritons outscored their opponents in the second half but still came up short where it really counted, losing the game 56-51. “”We came out flat,”” Malone said. “”At the end, we had a chance to win it, but they made their free throws.”” Fok, again the Triton leading scorer, was the only UCSD player to score in double figures, logging 12 points. Genevieve Ruvald was dominant on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds. Amy George lead San Bernardino with 13 points and six rebounds. The Tritons record has dropped as of late, falling to 7-6 overall and 3-5 in CCAA competition. “”We’re learning,”” Malone said. “”Division II is a different animal. They’re very athletic, quick. It’s a very physical league. We need to get more physical.”” The Tritons hope to rebound this weekend, when they play their first home games since classes resumed for winter quarter. They did have a large tournament at the end of December, but fellow Tritons were still in the thralls of their hard earned winter break. “”It’s big,”” Malone said. “”We’re lucky to have this record after all the games on the road. We’re happy to be at home.”” On Friday, UCSD hosts California State University Los Angeles at 8 p.m. This will be the first of two games against Los Angeles, with the second coming on the road at the end February. On Saturday, CSU Dominguez Hills pays a visit for a 6 p.m. game. Dominguez will also feel the Tritons’ wrath during a game in February. ...

Motorcross Mayhem Musings

There I sat, surrounded by drooling yokels and corn-fed half-breeds. They had crawled out of every backwoods barn and hillside shanty to pack the seats of San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. The sickening stench of exhaust wafted up from the track below, mixing with the audience’s putrid nacho cheese breath and body odor — so foul that it could only emanate from the dirtiest of unwashed heathens. So there I was huddled, shivering in my seat in Qualcomm’s frosty night air, wondering why I was among them. Ah, yes, the race. Below me the mud-caked bikes boisterously made their way around the track for the umpteenth time, while the 60,000 or so other moto-enthusiasts cheered wildly. For me, it was more like watching a friend play the classic Nintendo game Excitebike, except without the excitement. So instead I concentrated on the contents of my 20-ounce plastic cup, which, contrary to what the price I paid might indicate, was filled with neither liquid gold nor rare Pokemon cards. Alas, it was but domestic beer, but I greedily gulped it down, if to do nothing more than combat the rising nausea brought on by the fumes now permeating the stadium’s every nook and cranny. What is it that had these yahoos on the edge of their seats, eyeballs bulging as yet another lap began? Clearly, these people are of a different stripe. One need look no further than the Q’s parking lot to realize that, as it was stacked sky-high with gleaming monuments of mechanical carriage. It was a veritable smorgasbord of automobile excess, with monster trucks rising three stories high, and it was stocked with motors that appeared (and sounded) capable of running a 757 jet or one of California’s belabored “”power”” plants. A look at the bumper stickers adorning the beasts gave a more extensive glimpse into the mind of a race fan. For the most part they bore witty, urbane slogans such as, “”Save a Mouse, Eat a Pussy,”” or “”Got Ass?,”” which I hope is a play on the popular milk campaign and not an anatomical inquiry. I knew I was out of my element as soon as I entered the lot. As the rest of the race patrons revved their engines and offroaded over the metal barriers, I slinked on in with my friends, packed six deep in an Oldsmobile sedan with a rust-ridden roof. Ours was such a manly rig that it was actually dwarfed by the tires of many of the passing cars and trucks. The gear-heads scoffed at our impotent little set of wheels as they passed in a roar of exhaust, yelling such derisive, stinging insults as, “”Hey Mario Andretti, see ya at the Grand Prix!,”” and “”Yo knuckle heads, how many horses ya packing under the hood?”” We absorbed the heat from the toothless goons and finally found a parking spot, beginning what was the impetus for many of us to take our friend up on his offer of free tickets to the event-the fastidious consumption of malt liquor. We hunkered down in the shadows of the other behemoths parked around us and began taking generous pulls from our King Cobra Foaties. We polished those off in good time and continued our “”tail-gate,”” which was kind of hard with neither a tail nor a gate, by cracking a 30-pack of the good ol’ red, white and blues. Budweisers, I mean of course, and we drank not to get drunk — well, maybe that was part of it — but mostly to feel at home among our parking lot brethren. Once drunk enough to make the trek from the car to our seats, we headed in, only to be met by the tired, dirty debacle that is motocross racing and the stomach churning odors of our 60,000 friends. ...

Triton Star Finds Fun and Friends at UCSD

All right, pop quiz: what do visualization, confidence, practice, and McDonald’s food all have in common? Give up? Well, they are all parts of UCSD point guard Maya Fok’s pregame ritual, of course. Courtesy UCSD Athletics “”I have McDonald’s before every game”” Fok laughed. Just don’t tell the opposing coaches, or they might start waving fries at her on the court a la Grant Hill in those McDonald’s commercials. Whatever Fok’s routine consists of, it appears to be working. She is among the team’s leaders in steals, assists, scoring, minutes played, three-pointers and free throws. Her 2.38 steals per game rank her seventh in the league, while her 3.15 assists per game ties her with teammate Genevieve Ruvald for eleventh in the conference. The 5’5″” junior is even averaging 2.3 rebounds per game. But Fok’s contributions don’t stop there. “”She’s a very strong, dynamic leader,”” said head coach Judy Malone. “”[She’s] very outspoken and a very high-energy person.”” In fact, her energy was a problem at the beginning of the season. “”She’s a little bit quicker than we are at times and she gets down the floor quicker than everyone and tries to do it all herself,”” Malone said. “”[Now] she’s doing better controlling and setting up the offense.”” Not only is Fok directing the offense, but she is also leading the Tritons during their inaugural season in Division II. A transfer from UC Davis, Fok came to UCSD after feuding with her Davis coach and being kicked off the team after her sophomore year. “”I was a little too intense,”” Fok said. “”The coach didn’t really like me, which was weird since I was recruited so heavily. My sophomore year we didn’t make it into the playoffs (Fok was benched for a significant part of the season) and the coach told me there wasn’t a spot for me next year, and that the team ‘wasn’t going in my direction.'”” She then called every team in the conference, hoping to be able to play for a team that would get to face Davis. After talking to Malone, Fok decided to play for UCSD and hasn’t looked back since. “”I feel a lot more comfortable here,”” she said. “”The people on the team are great and it’s just a lot more fun.”” In turn, Fok delivers to UCSD experience playing at the Division II level and terrific ball-handling skills which doesn’t have Coach Malone missing last year’s point guard, who went to Japan. “”[Fok brings] confidence and a very competitive attitude,”” Malone said. “”She also has the mental toughness necessary for her leadership role.”” “”I love pressure,”” Fok said. “”Crunch time is the best part about playing. When you can pull it off under pressure, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. “”I really don’t care if I don’t score. Getting an assist on the game-winning shot is my dream.”” Unfortunately, her game-winning shot in UCSD’s season opener against Point Loma Nazarene with 0.8 seconds left, and her clinching free throws in the 21st Annual UCSD Doubletree Invitational Championship game have left her short of her dream. What’s Fok’s secret for dealing with pressure? “”I talk to myself a lot,”” she laughed. Despite her eccentricities (or perhaps because of them), Fok and her teammates have quickly bonded and come to rely upon each other. “”I just want to go all out for [the team],”” she said. “”Especially the seniors, I admire them so much. I want to cherish every second I have with them and make the best out of this year.”” To do that, according to Fok, the team needs to work on perfecting the mental aspect of the game. “”It’s not an issue of heart,”” she said. “”We have to be mentally prepared and gain some consistency. And gain confidence. I want them to be as confident in me as I am in them. Once we play to our potential, I know we can beat anybody in our conference.”” With the ball resting in the capable hands of Maya Fok, the last thing she should have to worry about is her team’s confidence. ...

Road Unkind to Tritons

The UCSD men’s basketball team seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot this season, and that trend continued on the road this past weekend. The Tritons’ losses were in the double digits during both weekend games. At California Polytechnic University at Pomona, UCSD came up short 91-67. At California State University, San Bernardino, the Tritons fell again, this time 75-52. David Pilz Guardian The Tritons knew going in that they weren’t going to have an easy time against either squad, as both are tied for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The Tritons were not playing half bad against Cal Poly, leading 19-13 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Then, Broncos star Lucas Lecour went on a tear, scoring 10 points in a row. He finished the first half with 18 points and led all scorers with 24 points for the game. The second half was more of the same as Cal Poly cruised to a 91-67 victory. UCSD has been deadly from three-point land this season, but it was Cal Poly this time around that was deadly from long range. The Tritons were only 10-26 from beyond the arc, a .385 shooting percentage. Cal Poly on the other hand was unconscious from downtown, hitting 8 out of 16. Cal Poly was also successful at the foul line, making 25-28 from the charity stripe. Nick Christensen lead UCSD with 13 points and Clark Goolsby chipped in with 11. For Lecour’s effort, he was named the Rawlings CCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. “”We’re good for stretches, but we’re not competitive for 40 minutes,”” said Triton head coach Greg Lanthier. “”We’re too young.”” The story remained the same after a trip down the freeway to San Bernardino. The Tritons fell way behind in the first half, looking at a 35-19 deficit heading into the break. UCSD made somewhat of a run in the second half, being only outscored by seven in that period. San Bernardino was just too skilled, winning 75-52. UCSD had only one player in double-digit scoring; Erik Ramp scored 15 points in the game. San Bernardino was guided by Michael Edwards with 13 and Chris Mattice with 12. “”They’re just head and shoulders above the rest of the conference,”” Lanthier said. “”There’s a difference between losing to San Bernardino and Cal Poly.”” UCSD’s record fell to 2-11 overall and 1-7 in CCAA play with the weekend’s losses. The Tritons hope to get back on the winning side of things this weekend as they play their first home games since school resumed for the winter quarter. “”We haven’t been home in like six weeks,”” Lanthier said. “”We played our last nine of 14 games here at home. Whether we’ll win or not I don’t know, but we’ll be competitive.”” CSU Los Angeles is up for a game on Friday at 6 p.m. and CSU Dominguez Hills pays a visit on Saturday at 8 p.m. ...

UCSD Tennis Looks Strong

If this weekend was any type of barometer, the UCSD men’s tennis team looks like it will have a good spring. The Tritons were well-represented at the 2001 Cal State L.A. Tennis Invitational, held on Jan. 13 and 14. In the men’s singles lower level flights, three out of the four semi-finalists were Tritons. Amir Nejad, Blake Wilson-Hayden and Sameer Chopra were the talented three vying for the top spot. The final was exclusively made up of UCSD players, featuring Chopra facing off against Nejad. Chopra made quick work of his teammate, winning handily 6-2, 6-2. In the upper flight category, two Tritons tried to make their presence known. Unfortunately, the results were less than stellar. Cory Moderink was unable to get out of the first round and Dan Albrecht and Jeff Wilson bowed out in the second round. However, Everett Schroeter did make it to the quarter finals. The men’s doubles teams were not to be outdone in tournament play. In the lower flights, the Triton duo of Nejad and Schroeter took the title while in the upper flights the team of Chopra and Wilson survived until falling, 9-7, in the finals. The women did not attend the event. Originally scheduled to span three days, the tournament was shortened to two days because of rain. ...