Volleyball beats No. 10 LBSU

    The UCSD men’s volleyball team split two games last week, winning against Long Beach State and falling to University of the Pacific.

    The victory over the Long Beach ’49ers came Wednesday at RIMAC Arena. UCSD dropped the first game of the best-of-five match and then stormed back to take the next three games from the 10th-ranked team from Long Beach, Calif.

    The Tritons came out slow and had trouble handling the Long Beach serve early on. At 15-20, the Tritons began to make a comeback and brought the score to 25-28 before the ’49ers managed to close out the game, 28-30.

    The second game was a different story. UCSD pounced on the ’49ers and quickly built a 13-8 lead.

    The lead held to 23-18, then the ’49ers showed why they are the 10th-ranked team in the nation. They began to eat away at the Triton lead bit by bit. Their level of concentration rose and passes became crisper, serves became a little harder, and digs became more common.

    This became a trend for Long Beach that lasted all night. When they were behind, the team would rally and play five to eight superb points, but then would hit a wall created by the Triton’s ability to disrupt the ’49ers’ rhythm.

    At 27-27, three-straight service errors by Long Beach brought the score 29-28 in favor of UCSD. Unable to close out the game, the Tritons went down match point 29-30. UCSD’s Kevin Keyser then put down a kill for 30-all and Jim Waller blocked a ’49er kill attempt. A set from Hove gave the Tritons the game 32-30.

    The final two game scores were 30-26 and 30-24.

    Coach Ron Larsen was happy with the Tritons’ adjustment.

    “”After the first game we had a good idea what they would do and what matchups we had,”” Larsen said. “”We were able to come out in the last three games and use this to slow them down.””

    This was the Tritons’ first win in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation since April 11, 2000. The win ended a 28 conference-game losing streak by UCSD.

    According to Larsen, it was Chris Mortimer who really helped the team win.

    “”Mort did a great job of controlling the serve and allowing Jordan to get our hitters good looks,”” Larsen said. “”We really won the battle of the serve and that helped us today.””

    The second match against the University of the Pacific did not go as smoothly. Both teams came into the game riding high. The Tigers had just defeated the No.1 ranked Pepperdine and one player, Aaron Watchfogel, had just been named the collegiate player of the week.

    UCSD had more than a few chances to control the tempo of the first game, but on four overpass plays, UCSD failed to convert any of the opportunities. This resulted in a 24-30 loss.

    In the second game, the Tritons played well and took it 30-27. The next two games saw Pacific pull away with 26-30 and 24-30 wins.

    “”We matched up well, especially our outside hitters,”” Larsen said. “”But they have some good players like their setter and middle, and they were able to get ahead of us.””

    The two games bring UCSD’s record to 3-13 overall. The Long Beach victory gave the Tritons the confidence they need going into the rest of the MPSF season.

    “”That victory showed us we can play and win in this league,”” Larsen said.

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