Volleyball beats Concordia

    The UCSD men’s volleyball team halted a four-match losing streak in a rare Sunday afternoon appearance, squeaking by Concordia College of New York.

    Tyler Huff

    The final game score of 3-0 doesn’t accurately reflect the story of this match. Each game was decided by three points or less and the Tritons never led by more than five points in any one game. It was UCSD’s ability to pull away at the end of each game that gave it the W for the afternoon

    The first game was a seesaw battle. Each team vied to take control of the game with some big play from the outside hitters, but neither could pull away. The Tritons got a little bit of breathing room at 15-18 but were quickly reigned in by the Clippers on a kill from Carlos Lopez and a service ace from Luis Mendez.

    The two teams traded points to 25-25 and then UCSD upped its game just enough to emerge with a 30-27 victory behind the strength of two kills from Jim Waller and blocker Kevin Keyser, who hit .846 and converted 11 of 13 attempts on the night.

    “”Our middles played well tonight,”” said coach Ron Larsen. “”Brian hit over .500 for us and Kevin really helped us to the win with his performance.””

    The second game brought more close play as the teams stayed even till 3-3.

    Concordia took a short-lived lead at 5-3, but a kill by Kaiser and an error on Concordia squared it away.

    The Tritons went up by two at 17-15 and seemed to take an edge in the game, holding the lead. Eric Perrine, Waller and Keyser all contributed kills to help UCSD to 22-20.

    Concordia would not back down and, due to some good serving, moved itself to 24-24, but that was as close as it would get. The Triton attack picked it up a notch and outhit Concordia over the next 11 points to take the game 30-27.

    Waller came up big at the end of game two. He had three kills in the last 11 points.

    Larsen had nothing but good things to say about his standout outside hitter.

    “”Waller came up big for us,”” Larsen said. “”He had 22 kills and really dueled it out with their outside hitter, Diego Escobar.””

    Escobar is one of a plethora of international players on the Concordia team, which features only one American team member. Hailing from Columbia, Escobar hit .522 on the night and matched Waller with 22 kills. Larsen was more than impressed with Escobar’s performance.

    “”That guy was overpowering,”” said Larsen. “”It could have been a different story out there tonight if they would have set him more. He is really one of the best players I have seen all year — probably the best.””

    Despite Escobar’s talents, the Tritons were able to do enough to get past him and his teammates in the third game but not before making their way through some close quarters.

    UCSD went up by four at 10-6 and seemed to be on a roll. Luis Mendez of Concordia got the serve, however, and slowed down the Tritons, pulling the Clippers to within a point at 10-11.

    The game continued along this path; UCSD would get a breath of fresh air and then Concordia would close the window and bring the score back even.

    UCSD seemed to have more energy than Concordia, though, and by 22-17 had the game in hand, going up by five at two more points and eventually closing out the game 30-27.

    It was a good end to a weekend that had already seen three losses.

    “”We played better out there today,”” said Larsen in praise of his team. “”We are finding ourselves and what we can do out there with Miller setting for us.””

    Matt Miller had 47 assists on the night and has played setter for the Triton’s since Jordan Hove’s knee injury last Friday.

    “”There is something floating around in his knee,”” Larsen said. “”We don’t know if the injury is season ending but we are adjusting.””

    Without their setter, the scope of the Triton’s weekend was changed as they dropped two games over the weekend. Having Hove back will help UCSD against their next opponent New York University and in their big upcoming home matches against Brigham Young University on April 9 and April 10.

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