Men's Volleyball Comes up Short Again this Weekend

    Last weekend, fourth-ranked powerhouse Stanford and 10th-ranked University of the Pacific loomed in UCSD’s future. Those games have now passed and the Tritons are looking back on two matches they could have won.

    David Pilz

    UCSD gave the Stanford Cardinal a scare at RIMAC Arena Saturday before eventually dropping the match in four sets 27-30, 30-24, 35-33 and 33-31.

    The Tritons squared off against the UOP Tigers Sunday and had little success, losing 30-22, 25-30, 30-19 and 30-26.

    The losses put the Tritons at 1-10 for the season and 0-9 in league play.

    UCSD was not intimidated by Stanford, and quickly jumped on the Cardinal. The Tritons won the first set 30-27 and held Stanford to a paltry .026 attacking average.

    “”We came out real strong in the first game,”” said head coach Ron Larsen. “”They came in perhaps a little overconfident and we jumped on them early.””

    Stanford won the next game 30-24 without much difficulty.

    “”In game two, Stanford played more like we expected them to, and they won pretty easily,”” Larsen said.

    The back-and-forth third set was UCSD’s longest of the season. The Tritons blew a late 28-23 lead and eventually lost 35-33.

    “”Game three we had a few breakdowns,”” Larsen said.

    The fourth game was similar to the first, as the Tritons served twice for game point but were unable to put away the Cardinal, losing the set 33-31.

    Junior setter Jordan Hove led the Triton squad with 45 assists. Other impressive performances were turned in by senior Donald Chen with 17 kills, junior outside hitter Griffin Cogorno with 11 digs and freshman middle-hitter Brian Foott with 11 blocks.

    The Tritons’ effort was enough to impress their coach.

    “”It was a good night and we played a good brand of volleyball,”” Larsen said.

    The University of the Pacific was simply too much for the Tritons as they again lost in four sets Sunday.

    Game one went back and forth until Pacific pulled away at the halfway mark when Tiger Dexter Macaranas served three straight points to give Pacific an insurmountable 22-18 advantage.

    In the second set Chen slammed the door on the Tigers with two straight kills to give UCSD a 23-17 lead. They then picked up the last two points to take the match.

    The third set was pretty much all UOP.

    The fourth was devastating to the Tritons, as they lost a 26-21 lead and ended up losing the set and the match.

    The blown lead was disturbingly reminiscent of their game against Stanford and was possibly the product of inexperience.

    “”We ‘re not in that position very often,”” Larsen explained. “”We don’t have anyone stepping up and demanding the ball. In game four, we were playing better than Pacific but we made a number of poor decisions and poor plays.””

    However, in the end, it was a satisfactory weekend for men’s volleyball.

    “”I think it’s a little bit of a learning experience,”” Larsen said. “”It’s definitely an improvement; a lot better than a week ago.””

    The Tritons play the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs at RIMAC Arena Saturday at 7 p.m.

    “”We have to come out and play the same brand of volleyball we are now,”” Larsen said. “”We can’t have any letdown thinking Santa Cruz isn’t as good as Stanford. We can’t coast. I think the fans will definitely enjoy the evening.””

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