Sports

Fok Brings UCSD Back From the Brink

Last Friday at the Golden Gymnasium in Point Loma, the Triton women’s basketball team outshined the Crusaders of Point Loma Nazarene University with a thrilling last-second 58-56 victory. David Pilz/ Guardian The UCSD women capped off an exciting first game in NCAA Division II with a baseline jumper by junior Maya Fok with 0.8 seconds left. “”[The game] was a war,”” commented head coach Judy Malone. “”It was almost the same game as last year.”” With this victory, the Tritons added another chapter in their history with Point Loma. UCSD has been closely matched against the Crusaders, including a 78-74 victory last year, until Friday’s victory gave them the 4-3 edge in the overall series. The women’s team began the game strong and cruised to a 35-24 halftime lead, despite the height advantage the Crusaders possessed. “”I think being as young as we are, we showed a lot of confidence and strength,”” said senior Genevieve Ruvald, the Tritons’ leading scorer against Point Loma, with 17 points. The Tritons displayed their tenacity by battling for every rebound and loose ball, which gave them a 32-22 shots-taken advantage in the first half. The second half was another story, however, as Point Loma came out with all pistons firing. Corey Zimbelman, who led all scorers with 18 points, opened the half with a three-pointer, and it was downhill for UCSD from there. After a few minutes of anemic offense, the Tritons called a timeout and proceeded to give the Crusaders an uncontested basket due to UCSD’s tardiness in getting back onto the court after the timeout. However, the Tritons were kept in the game by their gritty defense and several big offensive plays, which included Ruvald scoring off a steal, Fok penetrating inside to get to the line, and a nice drive to the hoop by freshman Kimberly Hong. Despite its offensive efforts, Point Loma crept to within 2 points eight minutes into the second half. Neither team was helped by the referees, who blew their whistles so frequently and enthusiastically that their faces started to turn blue due to lack of oxygen. Due to the frequency of the refs stopping the game, the teams were unable to establish a rhythm offensively. All in all, they called a total of 37 fouls and numerous traveling violations. “”There were some questionable calls,”” Ruvald said.. “”However we can’t blame the game on the officials,”” she added. The crowd, which grew louder as the game progressed, also appeared to affect the young Triton team. The UCSD women seemed to have trouble at the free-throw line in the second half, with the raucous Point Loma throng drowning out the few loyal UCSD fans. With the second half winding down, the Tritons’ rawness was visible during one offensive series in which freshman Ali Ginn was passed the ball while she was attempting to tie her hair back, though no harm resulted as she nonchalantly caught the ball and flipped it back with one hand. “”We have a lot of young kids,”” Malone said. “”We still have some growth to do.”” “”I thought our young players really stepped up and kept their poise,”” Ruvald praised. With less than two minutes left in the game, Point Loma pulled to within one when freshman Tammy McCoy scored on a breakaway to make the score 50-51. With 32.7 seconds left and a one-point lead, Ruvald drew a foul and coolly sank both free throws to stretch UCSD’s lead to three. However, in the next possession, Zimbelman ignited the Crusader crowd by burying a three-pointer to tie the game with 23.2 seconds left. In the end, Zibelman’s heroics were for naught, as Fok found herself wide open on the right wing and calmly stepped up and nailed the game winner. The UCSD women, seeking to improve upon last year’s stellar 20-6 record, will next square off against Christian Heritage on Thursday, Nov. 30. ...

Does Anyone Else Smell Like Team Spirit?

Yours truly ventured away from UCSD to watch a pair of our athletic teams compete this weekend. OK, so I did not even get out of San Diego, but I did leave the confines of La Jolla to watch our teams in action. I got to see the women’s basketball team pull out a last-second win over Point Loma Nazarene University on Friday, and I saw the men’s basketball squad get crushed by the Division I San Diego State Aztecs. Both games showed me something that is not often seen by this gent — school spirit. Sure, there is some school spirit here. Thumbs up to all of those Triton faithful who come out to games. Special props to those few whom I saw at the two road games I attended. But shame on those who never go and support the athletes and just plain don’t give a damn. At the State game, where our guys were severely outmatched but still tried their best, they played in the beautiful Cox Arena. This place is first class. There were over 4,000 people in attendance. Can you imagine having that many here to see a game? At the Point Loma game, there were over 500 students. Now, this is a small number of people. But further research makes this that much more impressive. The school has a little over 2,000 undergraduates. That means roughly one-fourth of the school’s population attended the game. That is like 5,000 people heading to the next UCSD men’s basketball match. Amazing. This is a call for people to get out there and watch a game. We have some excellent athletics teams — take a look at women’s soccer. The games are fun, and they make you more of a part of the school. Another thing got me thinking: The Point Loma Nazarene University gym is called the Golden Gym. It is nowhere near the size of our RIMAC Arena but it is really nice looking. It glows, it rocks and it has a nice name that gives the station some spice That is what we need here. We need to rename RIMAC something that makes opponents shake in their boots, something that pertains to the Tritons. Other schools have names like “”The Eagles’ Nest”” or “”The Lions’ Den.”” How about calling RIMAC “”Atlantis”” or “”The Watery Tomb?”” OK, maybe not, but help me out. Send suggestions to me or to the athletic department. I’m sure the name can be better than “”Intramural Recreational Arena Auditorium with a Complex that is a Place to Play and Work Out Stadium Arena Thing,”” or whatever RIMAC is. This is just a call for everyone to get some school spirit into their systems and support the hard working UCSD athletic teams a little bit more. ...

The Tritons Learn a Division I Lesson

In its first Division II game, the UCSD men’s basketball team was unable to net a victory against cross-town rivals Division I San Diego State University Saturday night at Cox Arena. David Pilz/ Guardian The 80-48 UCSD loss ended a 17-game losing streak for the Aztecs, and it was the first time the teams had met since 1981, when the Tritons were also defeated. Ten of UCSD’s 15 players are freshmen, and the Tritons are slated to finish 11th out of 12 teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, according to a recent pre-season CCAA Coaches’ Poll. SDSU captured the tip-off and began the game with a lay-up at 18:44 by Aztec Karlo Koviac. UCSD was unable to halt a six-point, two-and-a-half-minute-long streak, until freshman forward Ryan Swed sank a three-point shot from the corner at 16:27, which set a pattern for the rest of the half. The Aztecs retaliated with an outside shot for themselves seconds later, bringing the score to 9-3. The ball rallied back and forth, with State adding several lay-ups, one free throw and a dunk. The Tritons’ only scores in the first half came from three pointers. They made six of 23 attempts, shooting a .261 three-point field goal percentage. In the second half, with two more attempted baskets, the percentage was .214. “”It was one of our first games for this season, and we do have a lot of young guys,”” said UCSD head coach Greg Lanthier. “”The timing was a little off, and I think we shot a little quicker than we should have. We didn’t shoot as well as we are capable of.”” In the last 10 minutes of the half, the Tritons missed 10 straight field goals before Swed assisted senior forward Sam Higgins, who sunk a three pointer with 2:22 left in the half. While UCSD was quiet in the field, SDSU made three turnovers, all by junior Randy Holcomb, and also made a few baskets. Higgins’ score brought the score to a 33-18 Aztec lead, but SDSU added another lay-up less than two minutes before the buzzer, to end the half at 35-18. SDSU enjoyed a 48 percent field goal percentage in the first half, and it ended the game with 55 percent overall. “”I liked this game,”” Fisher said. “”I was very happy to look around and see a respectable crowd. I thought we played hard and defended efficiently.”” When asked why the season opener matched a Division I team with one of Division II, Fisher answered that all over the country this type of match up is occurring, and the difference in rankings only serves to help both teams see what each needs to focus on. Lanthier agreed. “”We were outmatched physically, but this was the first time in a collegiate situation for a lot of our players. It shows them how things can be, and what needs work.”” Thirty seconds into the second half, SDSU scored a three pointer, which the Tritons answered with a trio of lay-ups, bringing the score to 43-24 SDSU. The Aztecs almost doubled the score at 61-32 with 9:08 left in the game. The Tritons, unable to pull ahead for the remainder of the game, threw in a basket and another trio of threes against four foul shots and five points off baskets for SDSU. “”We really had nothing to lose by going into this game against a Division I team,”” said freshman guard Roger Curtis. “”Most of us were stepping out onto the college game court for the first time. You just have to take the experience and keep going.”” Overall, UCSD shot .321 from the field, with Higgins and senior forward Cole Miller leading in points, with 11 each. Higgins was also strong on the boards, with a game high seven rebounds. SDSU’s top scorer, Randy Holcomb, poured in 15 points. UCSD will meet Cal Poly San Louis Obispo Nov. 20, and the next home game will be held after Thanksgiving on Nov. 29 against Christian Heritage at 7 p.m. ...

Early Registration Irks Some Students at Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Every semester, a number of Iowa students find themselves nervously waiting for the moment when the university will allow them to register and find out if there are any seats left in their desired classes. But while they wait, student athletes are already signed up. For the 2001 spring semester, as with every semester, student athletes will receive priority registration beginning on Nov. 20. All athletes are given the opportunity to register during the first three days of registration, along with professional students, graduate students and any undergraduates who have earned 90 hours or more semester hours. What has some students concerned is that any athlete, regardless of year or credits earned at the university, may have the chance to enroll before a student who has earned more semester hours. UI freshman Patrick Drouin watches as athletes fill up seats up to 11 days before he is allowed to register. “”It’s not fair that athletes have the priority above the other students who are here for the academics,”” he said. “”If anything, the students who are academically successful should be given the priority above the others.”” But in fact, students on academic scholarship from the UI do receive priority registration. These students are an example of those on campus who receive as much priority as a student athlete, said Carol Gruber, the director of student services in the Athletics Department. UI senior Jessica Smith said she has experienced some problems enrolling in classes because they were typically crowded with athletes. “”I think it is a problem,”” said Smith, who splits her time between three jobs and her classes. “”I think the university should consider the people who have to work and the people who are paying for their own tuition with their personal money. I’ve had a hard time getting into popular classes such as Relaxation Techniques and Health for Living because they were usually full, and I had to wait two or three semesters to get those classes. “”I’ve ended up getting the classes I wanted, but it was because I was running around and talking to the teachers and my counselor. It hasn’t been because of anything the university has done.”” Gruber said that although she certainly empathizes with students such as Smith who are required to put in long work hours as well as study hours, a student athlete’s commitment to the university is more formal. “”Those students are not responsible to the university,”” she said. “”They have not made or signed a contract with the university as the student athlete has. Student athletes sign a contract that has them agree to represent the university and meet all the requirements they face to be successful in athletics and academics.”” UI senior Jake Wilson, who competed this fall as the No. 1 singles player for the men’s tennis team, said most students have the wrong idea about the registration rules. “”I think it’s pretty fair because our practice times are set in stone,”” he said. “”While other students may have to schedule their classes around a job, they can ask their bosses to switch their schedule. But when you have to be at practice from noon to 5:30 p.m. every day, no matter what, it takes away your options for classes.”” Travel also comes into play when athletes register for classes, Gruber said. “”Student athletes are responsible for academics and athletics, and scheduling around traveling times helps them handle their responsibilities in both areas, which is very important to us,”” she said. Wilson, a psychology major, said he plans to focus on sports psychology because he has been exposed to sports his entire life, and this may be a reason that athletes have sports-related majors. “”Athletes may just have those majors because they are very familiar with athletics and it is a big part of their lives,”” he said. — Daily Iowan ...

Women Swim Team Trounces Bakersfield

In a full weekend of swimming, the UCSD women’s swimming and diving team dropped a duel meet versus the University of San Diego Toreros on Friday, but rebounded to beat Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday. The men’s team fell to Bakersfield. The women’s first meet, held at USD, consisted of 16 events: two diving events, the 400-meter medley relay, the 1000-meter freestyle, the 200-meter freestyle, the 100-meter backstroke, the100-meter breast stroke, the 2000-meter butterfly, the 50-meter freestyle, the 100-meter freestyle, the 200-meter backstroke, the 200-meter breast stroke, the 500-meter freestyle, the 100-meter butterfly, the 200-meter individual medley and the 400- and 200-meter freestyle relay. The match, which began with a hailstorm during warm-ups, did not get much better for the Tritons, as USD placed first in 13 out of the 16 events. “”We swam very poorly, and they swam well,”” summarized head coach Scott McGihon. “”That’s pretty much what the match came down to.”” However, there was a silver lining, as sophomore Jennifer Watanabe continued her excellent swimming with a first-place finish in the 200-meter freesyle event and the 200-yard backstroke, winning with times of 29.86 and 32.76, respectively. The other top finisher for the women’s team was junior Lindsey Meeks in the 100-yard breaststroke with a winning time of 31.80. Fortunately for the women, Saturday was a new day, as they dominated Bakersfield, 149-82. Junior Molly McCorkle placed first in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, while Watanabe and Sharon Smith were individual winners. At the end of the day, four freshmen had qualified for the NCAA meet at the end of the year. The men’s swimming team was unfortunately unable to come up with a victory, as it was beaten 134-86 by Cal State Bakersfield. However, the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team, composed of junior Christian Deck, sophomore Luke Seed, sophomore Danny Fischer and senior Rusty Jones impressed. “”I don’t think [the relay team has] ever be that fast at this point in the year,”” McGihon said. Another bright spot was Triton Ryan Long’s victory in the 200-yard individual medley. “”His time was exceptionally fast,”” McGihon said. Not only was it fast, it was also good enough to qualify Long for the NCAA finals. While both the men’s and women’s teams ended up with losses after the weekend was over, McGihon was still optimistic. “”I think that the NCAA finals are more important than winning dual meets,”” he said. “”And the way both the men and women are swimming right now, we should do good [in the finals].”” “”[In order to improve] we need to keep fine tuning, and work on starts and turns,”” McGihon said. “”However, we are swimming very well for this time of the year.”” The Tritons will have plenty of opportunities this weekend to improve, as they send their divers to the USC Invitational on Friday, and then square off against Claremont College and UC Santa Cruz on Saturday in Claremont. ...

UCSD club Sports

CYCLING TEAM The best riders from a number of southern California colleges competed at Clark Ranch in the first horse show of the season. The top riders from Cal Poly Pomona, USC and USF joined riders from UCSD, bringing together over 60 riders to compete in 80 events. Cal Poly won the Saturday competition and USD was tops during Sunday’s action. UCSD had a number of strong performances from their women riders.. Freshman Heather Thurgood had the most impressive performance for UCSD. This was her first competition at the collegiate level, but she did not act like it was. Thurgood took the High Point Rider Championship by placing second in the intermediate equitation over fences, and first in the intermediate equitation on the flat. This combination made her top point-earner of all the riders. Lisa Calvina placed second and third in the Open over fences on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Katie Bradly placed second in the novice category over fences and Zoe Jarocki finished just behind her for third. Morgan Messing placed third in the novice flat on Saturday and second on Sunday. Cindy Hung took second in the beginning walk/trot. “”I’m out to do the best I can so I can help the team,”” Hung said. UCSD has a very young team this year, with only five returning riders. “”We have a couple of new members to the team,”” Hung said. “”We have a couple of strong captains.”” Next up for UCSD will be a show in Pomona Nov. 18 to Nov. 19. WEEKEND EVENTS Friday, Nov. 17 * Ice Hockey vs. Sacramento State at UTC, 10:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 * Cycling at Eucalyptus Grove, all day. * Women’s Rugby, Scrum by the Sea Tournament, Warren Field, all day. * Equestrian at Pomona, all day. * Men’s rugby vs. University of Nevada at Nevada. — compiled by Robert Fulton, Sports Editor ...

Up the Mountain They Go

It will not be until the UCSD men’s basketball team steps onto the hardwood for the first time ever as a California Collegiate Athletic Association Division II competitor that coach Greg Lanthier and his squad will fully know what to expect this season. “”This year will be a year of assessment, and we will not really know what we need to do to succeed and make strides until we actually play a few games,”” Lanthier said. “”We will be adjusting to a whole new game, one that is more physical and more athletic, with bigger, faster players. We are going to go out and play and recognize our weaknesses and look to improve on them. But we will not know what they are until we play.”” The CCAA Ranking Committee, composed of league coaches, appears to recognize quite a few weaknesses in the Triton team, ranking them dead last (tied with San Francisco State), for 11th out of the 12 CCAA teams. The Golden Eagles from Cal State Los Angeles, who tied last year for second place in the CCAA, received six first-place votes to garner the No. 1 pre-season seed. Defending CCAA champions, Cal State San Bernadino was ranked second, with traditionally solid Cal State Bakersfield third and six-time NCAA post-season participant UC Davis ranked fourth. The team that went 5-20 last season in Division III play has a chance to outplay that ranking this season, though, and its ability to do so will probably hinge on the play and progression of its key freshman players. The 15-member Triton team is composed of ten freshmen — four true freshmen and six red shirts. Ryan Swed, a true freshman out of Tempe, Ariz., will definitely be looked to by Lanthier to make a contribution, as will Roger Curtis and Ryan Rikansrud. Out of the six red shirts, Cameron Jackson, the 6-foot-1-inch guard out of Tustin High, will be an impact player for the Tritons this year. “”Cameron is the top of the class among the freshman guys, he is an exceptional player, and will start for us and get a lot of playing time,”” Lanthier said. Erik Ramp, the 6-foot-1-inch, 200 pound guard, whom Lanthier describes as a very big, very physical and very athletic player, will also get a lot of looks if he can come back from his recent knee surgery. Mike Roberts and C.J. Duffaut will also challenge for time for the Tritons this year. Of the returning players, the Tritons will once again look to 6-foot-6-inch forward Sam Higgins, the three-year starter, who averaged 15.4 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game last year, while compiling 61 three-pointers over the duration of the season. Joining him on the floor will be the team’s sole junior, Nick Christenson, a 6-foot-2-inch guard, who averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 assists per game last season, and 5-foot-11-inch senior guard Michael Martin, who averaged 9.9 points and 2.6 assists per game. Sophomore center Clark Goolsby, who at 6 feet 7 inches, 220 pounds is the Tritons’ biggest player, will also be a key element in the Tritons’ success this season. These returning players will be looked to for leadership on and off the court this season by the young Triton team, as leadership will be very important to a team that not only lacks experience, but is also making the jump to Division II play. That is why this season will be a period of adjustment for the blue and gold. “”This season will be a season of development for us, as we know we need to get bigger, faster and stronger, but there will also be many other things that will need to be done for us to be competitive and succeed at the D-II level,”” Lanthier said. “”We will have to adjust to the more physical style of play and make other adjustments as the season goes on.”” The adjustment made by the freshman players will be especially important to the Tritons’ chances on the court. “”We have a lot of freshman players this year, but they are all quality players and have the ability to make big strides this season,”” Lanthier said. “”We call it the ‘freshman factor,’ which is the ability of these guys, who will be given opportunities to mature and play, to make an impact.”” The Tritons open their season with a throwdown versus cross-town rival San Diego State. The Aztecs are one of three Division I teams that UCSD will face this season in light of its jump to Division II. “”Playing the Division I teams will make this advancement all the more easier,”” Lanthier said. “”Out of our five non-CCAA games, three will be against Division I teams, which I think will help us out in our move to Division II,”” he said. “”Playing these very good teams will not only make us better as a team but will also make it easier to face the Division II teams with the added experience of playing some of the top competition around.”” Nor are the benefits of facing off against SDSU lost on Lanthier. “”Playing San Diego State is really a no-lose situation for us,”” he said. “”Even if we don’t win the game, it’s great for the community and for us to be able to get some valuable experience in a nice atmosphere.”” The Tritons will begin their quest for experience Saturday night at 7 p.m. at San Diego State’s Cox Arena. Make your way down Interstate 5 to Interstate 8 and check out UCSD as it looks to put the smack down on those rascally Aztecs and prepare for its inaugural Division II season. ...

What to do with Slammin' Sammy

All of Chicago is abuzz these days with talks about the Cubs trading their brightest star, outfielder Sammy Sosa, to the Texas Rangers. Fans are outraged, and Cubs owner Andy MacPhail, trying to maintain some semblance of control, keeps lying through his teeth, saying that no trade will be made. The trade would likely be a five-for-one swap, with the Cubs getting players such as outfielder Gabe Kapler, relief pitcher Jeff Zimmerman Ruben Mateo and possibly additional minor league prospects. From the Cubs’ point of view, I think this would be a steal. They have so many holes that Sosa can’t possibly fill them all by himself. A big trade for their star might have a similar effect on them as the trading of Herschel Walker had on the Dallas Cowboys back in 1989. That trade was directly responsible for bringing Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith to the team, the duo that caused the Dallas dynasty in the 1990s. This kind of affect was also felt by the Colorado Avalance when they traded Eric Lindros and recieved draft picks that would eventually produce Peter Forsberg. That said, should the Cubs make the deal? Yes. That is, if Sosa wants them to make it. First of all, because Sosa has been in the major leagues for 10 years and spent the last five of them with the same team, he has the power to block any proposed trade. Trying to trade him somewhere he doesn’t want to go would be futile. More importantly, the Cubs owe it to Sosa to send him somewhere that he wants to go. When Sosa hit 66 home runs in 1998, and again the following year when he hit 63, he virtually carried the Cubs and all of baseball on his back. The Major Leagues were still reeling from the strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, and Sosa, with the help of Mark McGwire, brought baseball back from the brink of utter catastrophe. The way that Sosa and McGwire composed themselves throughout the race to knock down Roger Maris’ immortalized single-season home run record was both an honor to watch and a testament to the character of the two men. So now it is time to pay Sosa back. The only problem is that nobody seems to know what he wants to do. Last season, he basically demanded a trade, and later in the year he said he wanted to end his career, where he started, in Texas. Sammy, it makes it hard for people to honor you by doing your will when you can’t resolve what it is. When Sosa finally decides what he wants, it should be given to him with haste. Baseball and the Cubs owe him at least that much. ...

Triton Playoff Fever!

Men’s water polo has endured 24 games this year. All its trials and tribulations — from beating then-No. 1-ranked Cal to its disappointing performance at the Northern California Tournament at Stockton — will be for naught if it does not perform well this weekend at the Western Water Polo Association Championships in Honolulu. Lyon Liew/ Guardian The winner of the tournament will get an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, held Dec. 2 and 3 in Malibu, and a chance to play in the national championship. Coached by Denny Harper, the Tritons started off the season on an incredible tear, winning 15 of their first 18 games and attaining a ranking as high as fifth in the nation. Since then, the team has been in a mini-slump, losing five of its last seven games, but is still ranked eighth in the nation. The Tritons are not losing to just anybody, as all of their losses have come against excellent teams. They have fallen to CSU Long Beach twice, and to Cal, UC Irvine and Pepperdine once. These teams are in the top 10 nationally. What made the Tritons so successful earlier in the season was their ability to jump on teams quickly. By aggressively taking an early lead, the Tritons put other teams on their heels and from there they let their stellar defense take over. In their mini-slump, they have been falling behind early and have been going into the late quarters at a three or four goal deficit. The Tritons then play the teams shot-for-shot, or even outplay them, but their efforts are to no avail, as such a big lead is usually too large to surmount. Why are opposing teams getting out and ahead so early? The Tritons have been making few mental mistakes. They have not been getting back on the counterattack and have been letting their opponents roam freely. These mistakes were not made earlier in the year when they were beating the best teams in the nation. If the Tritons want to compete at the NCAA tournament, they will have to stop making those mistakes now. Many players led the Tritons to the WWPA tournament, Jonathan Samuels first and foremost. He has been an intimidating presence for the Tritons all season long and gives other teams something to worry about. Samuels leads the team with 46 goals and has been solid all year long. If he has a good tournament, the Tritons are likely to follow. Jason Boettner has been a great distributor and defensive presence for UCSD. During the regular season, he dished out 23 assists and recorded 26 steals, tops on the team. Vladimir Djopic has been a great asset for the Tritons, as he has become a versatile utility man. In the pool he is able to go inside or outside with equal effectiveness. Important in the tournament is the performance of goalie Glenn Busch. So far, he has had a very good year, but he will have to be at the top of his game in Honolulu to help the Tritons make it through. Most vital to the Tritons is that they play as a team in the tournament. Harper has repeatedly stressed this point during the season. Each part of the team must work together in order for UCSD play up to its potential. Eight teams from the 12-team WWPA will compete at the Honolulu tournament. The Tritons are the highest-ranked team in the WWPA and are favorites going into the tournament. Nevertheless, competition in Honolulu will be tough. For example, the U.S. Air Force Academy, despite its rank, always fights hard for the win, and may be a tough match for the Tritons. If the Tritons win the tournament, they will then move on to the four-team NCAA tournament. The competition will consist of the winner of the WWPA, the Eastern Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The last spot is an at-large berth, which is likely to go to an MPSF team, as that division fields multiple top 10 teams such as Cal, UC Irvine and USC. ...

Like a Phoenix, the Tritons' Hopes Arise From the Ashes

UCSD Women’s volleyball travelled up to Los Angeles to play Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino this weekend but came away from their stint up North with nothing but two losses. UCSD met the Broncos of Pomona on Friday night at Darlene May gym in Pomona. The Tritons, as the second place team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, were heavily favored coming into this match. The first set was not indicative of this, however, as UCSD had a negative hitting percentage at -.161 and lost the game 15-4. UCSD bounced back in the second set with a 15-11 win to even the set score at one each. The match really paralleled this up-and-down roller coaster ride all night long. One team would win a set and look like they were building momentum and then the opposing team would storm right back to take the next set. “”We play a lot of games during the season and we’ve just been in a little bit of a slump lately,”” said UCSD head coach Duncan McFarland. Cal Poly Pomona took the third set with a decisive 15-8 win, but true to form, UCSD came back and took a hard fought fourth set 15-13. UCSD took a 5-4 lead early in the fifth set. Then the Broncos seemed to step up their intensity and reeled off four consecutive points to take a lead at 8-5 that they would not relinquish. The Tritons cut the Broncos’ lead to 10-9 but that was as close as it would get and Cal Poly Pomona pulled it out with a 15-9 win. UCSD was led by Laura Santerre who had 12 kills and six digs. The Tritons also received good performances from Jennie Wilson and Jamie Woods who each had 11 kills. Karla Tate of the Broncos set a school record with 32 kills in the game. She added four digs. The Tritons moved on to CSU San Bernardino the next weekend and looked as if they were still hung over from the previous day’s defeat. They came out and were promptly put behind a set by the score 15-6. The second set proved to be no different as they fell to an identical score. With their backs against the wall the Tritons rallied to take San Bernardino to extra points but that was all she wrote as UCSD was not able to pull it out and lost 16-14. Santerre again stood out for the Tritons with 10 kills and three digs. Wilson had a dig to compliment her 11 kills and Woods led the team in digs with five. The Tritons were plagued by poor hitting the whole weekend as they posted a hitting percentage below .100 in four out of the eight sets they played. With the loss on Friday the Tritons dropped into a three-way tie for second place and with the loss on Friday they slid even further into the pack, all alone in fourth place. CSU Bakersfield and CSU San Bernardino are in a two-way tie for second place. The West region gets six berths in the NCAA tournament and three, possibly four, teams from the CCAA will be selected for these berths. With UCSD’s two losses the picture for the playoffs, which just Thursday was bright and crystal clear, is now clouded with doubt. However, due to Grand Canyon University’s poor performance this weekend, UCSD was granted the sixth spot in the West regional playoffs. Said McFarland, “”We thought we were out of it but due to Grand Canyon’s performance and our own strong showings earlier on in the year, we got the spot.”” UCSD certainly deserves the a berth as all season long the team has had a stranglehold on second place in the CCAA. “”We are excited and the team really deserves this,”” McFarland said. “”With school and midterms and how many games we play, it is hard to keep going all season. But our earlier games really secured us this spot.”” The team will play Cal State Bakersfield Thursday in the 5 p.m. game, at Cal State Los Angeles. “”We are going to take it easy in practice tomorrow and then start preparing a specific game plan for the Bakersfield game,”” McFarland said. “”Amy Waite is their top hitter and they play a game that is similar to ours. She is one of the top hitters in the conference so it will be a challenge.”” The Tritons have their work cut out for them as they have already lost to Bakersfield twice this year. “”We need to work on our ball control and serving and passing,”” McFarland said. “”However, Grand Canyon has beat Bakersfield twice this year and we have beat Grand Canyon twice so I think we should be able to prevail.”” The law of averages is on the Triton’s side, and after this minislump and they should be hungry for a win. If the Tritons win their game against Bakersfield they will then be confronted by Hawaii Pacific, the second ranked team in the conference. The top ranked team in the conference is Cal State Los Angeles. They posted a 22-0 record this year. ...