Men's Volleyball Overcome by Pepperdine

    The UCSD men’s volleyball team hosted the Pepperdine Waves Friday at RIMAC Arena for a night of rock ’em, sock ’em volleyball action. However, the Pepperdine players were less than gracious guests, putting the hurt on the Tritons in their own house in front of the 298 spectators in attendance.

    The men’s volleyball team got a taste of a new game format, as it now uses rally scoring on every point, with the first four games played to 30 points, and the fifth game, if necessary, played to 15. It only took the Waves four games to down the Tritons, en route to rolling up a 3-1 victory over the home team.

    UCSD got out to an early lead, winning the first set 30-28. This marked the first winning set of the season for the Tritons, but this was all they could muster, dropping the next three by scores of 30-18, 30-21 and 30-22.

    Matt Shawley led the Waves with 14 kills in the match. Teammate Fred Winters had 12 kills, while Brad Keenan and Scott Wong had 10 kills each. Their attack was made possible by setter Keith Barnett, who compiled 50 assists in the tilt.

    The Tritons were led by the exploits of 2000 MVP Donald Chen, who had 16 kills in the effort. Griffin Cogorno, in his first year playing for the Tritons, also exhibited inspired play, knocking down 15 kills and notching 10 digs. Senior Zach Hite added 10 kills of his own, while Eric Perrine hooked his teammates up all night long, compiling 47 assists.

    These fine efforts just weren’t enough to topple the Waves, though, who came out firing on all cylinders after dropping an extremely close first set.

    At this early juncture in the season, a few key players have emerged to lead the Triton club. Chen, one of the team’s more seasoned veterans, is leading the club in kills with 35, and blocks with 10. Fellow senior Hite has also made his presence felt on the hardwood with 28 kills.

    Cogorno, recruited from Orange Coast College by coach Ron Larsen, is also steadily becoming an impact player. His 17 digs lead the team, and his 33 kills place him second. Another new face on the Triton team, Brian Foott is also proving to be a force, as he’s second on the team in blocks with nine.

    The team’s record does not truly reflect the skill and drive of these Triton athletes. Competition at this new level of play is extremely fierce, and once they get acclimated to going up against these big-time, scholarship-waving schools, their record and numbers will undoubtedly begin to climb.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day though, and with the loss to Pepperdine the Tritons’ record fell to 0-3 in both the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and overall for the season. The Waves upped their record to 2-1 in league and 5-1 overall.

    The Tritons will next go toe to toe with perennial volleyball powerhouse Long Beach State up in the LBC Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. before returning home to face Princeton on Thursday night.

    The Tritons will be looking to build on the progress that they have made to date and start notching a few checks in the win column. Check out all of the action Thursday at 5 p.m. in our very own RIMAC Arena.

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