Triton Volleyball Players Say Goodbye

    The UCSD men’s volleyball team showed a massive amount of heart and spirit throughout its grueling 2000-2001 campaign. It was hard to battle with scholarship-dangling Division I and Division II volleyball powerhouses, but the Tritons managed to persevere all season long.

    Courtesy of UCSD Athletics
    Ciao: Chen, Tarpley, Flynn, and Hite are taking their skills and determination to the greener pastures of the real world beyond UCSD’s campus.

    This type of gritty, heartfelt play could not have happened without the four Triton seniors who are wrapping up their UCSD careers this season. These four men provided courage, athleticism, leadership and spirit to a team that had few victories, but did have a whole lot of fun.

    Graduating seniors Zach Hite, Donald Chen, Todd Tarpley and Kevin Flynn will not be back on the hardwood in Triton blue and gold next season. They are moving on to lives where volleyball will be a hobby instead of a lifestyle, a game to be played on the beach or in the park, not the trenches of RIMAC or other college arenas around the country.

    The hardwood will no longer echo with the booming smashes of these fine players, nor will it echo with applause for their on-court prowess. They came, they saw, they played some darn good volleyball and now they are leaving UCSD in their wake.

    Chen is the type of player every coach would like to have: an athlete with the ability to dominate a game on his own terms. Never one to voice his own extraordinary accomplishments, his humbleness impressed his teammates and coaches.

    Coach Ron Larsen knew he had something special in Chen.

    “”He was probably the best volleyball player to ever play at UCSD,”” Larsen said, referring to Chen. “”He was great offensively — a very explosive player who was the focal point of our offense. We will definitely miss him next year. Off the court he was quiet, he would work hard and really wanted to get better, but on the court he was a big presence. He was just a very athletic, very talented player.””

    Chen was often complemented on the court by fellow standout senior Hite.

    Larsen explains Hite’s impact as a Triton volleyball player: “”Zach was a complete volleyball player — not all that big at 6’2″”, but with just an explosive arm,”” he said. “”He was a good defensive player, our primary passer. He could always hit the ball hard. He was a good competitor that really got involved in the games. As one of our team captains, he was always available to help his teammates, too. Organizing things and helping out a lot with all the things we had to off the court. He was a real role model.””

    Tarpley is another Triton senior who’s hanging up his UCSD uniform.

    Though he played a smaller role than Chen and Hite, Tarpley still made his presence felt.

    “”Todd was a starter last year, but this year he had more of a backup role at center, but he knew the game as well as anybody,”” Larsen said. “”He really knew the game and knew how to play it well. He did all he could for the team, always supportive and always there for his teammates even when he wasn’t always playing. Todd’s inspiration was a real asset to the team.””

    Flynn was one of the hardest-working players and was always looking to give that little extra bit of effort that might make the difference.

    “”Kevin was another guy that started last season, but played more of a backup middle role this year,”” Larsen said. “”Even though he didn’t play quite as much, he still worked harder than anyone. We used to always joke about how many shirts he was going to bring to practice because he would go through so many of them, working so hard. At 6’2″” he was a good offensive middle. He understood his role and really worked hard to improve; if something had to be done he would do it. He just had a great work ethic, whether it would be at practice, in the gym, lifting weights, anywhere.””

    These four players will be difficult to replace next season, not just for their play on the court, but for their overall success.

    “”These guys are great because, in my two years here, they’ve been superb everywhere — not just on the court and in practice, but in the classroom, too,”” Larsen said. “”They are what I like to call ‘low-maintenance athletes.'””

    We hope these stellar performances and success follows them into the real world. They have left their mark on Triton volleyball and will be leaving behind four big pairs of shoes to fill.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal