Tritons fall to CSUN and UCSB

    The first half of the UCSD men’s volleyball team’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule is over, but the winning has not yet begun. Battling frustration, negativity and a lack of consistency, the Tritons suffered back-to-back sweeps to their on-court foes, CSU Northridge and UC Santa Barbara, bringing UCSD to 0-11 in conference and 3-12 overall.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    In a theme that was to repeat itself the following evening, the Tritons hung with the Matadors of CSUN for much of the first game, but then slowly faded while the match progressed. UCSD battled with the Matadors throughout the first game, though neither team hit exceptionally well. The Tritons led as late as 20-19, but let the game slip from their grasp when CSUN went on a run to take the 30-25 victory.

    The second game featured two teams headed in opposite directions when the Matadors increased their hitting percentage from .270 to .343, while the Tritons dropped from their first game mark of .200 to .135. UCSD never threatened when the Matadors rolled to a 2-0 lead with a 30-22 victory.

    In the third game, CSUN put down 18 kills with only one attack error and finished the Tritons 30-19.

    Rebecca Drexler
    Guardian

    Outside hitter Eric Perrine led UCSD with 12 kills, setter Tye Thoreson put up 36 assists and libero Chris Mortimer had 13 digs.

    Perrine noted that the Triton shortcomings are related to something outside the box score.

    “”We’re not playing up to our potential,”” he said. “”We’re not winning the games we should.””

    Although the 13th-ranked Gauchos of UCSB came in as the favorites, the Tritons’ Feb. 22 match was definitely one they considered winnable.

    UCSD again started with a strong push, opening the game with a 7-3 run, but consistent play kept UCSB close. Like they have all year, the Tritons faltered down the stretch, and the Gauchos were able to take a 30-27 victory.

    In the second game, UCSD stayed reasonably close, but was unable to take control of the match. With his team starting to slip late in the game, Triton head coach Ron Larsen took a timeout and implored his team to fight harder.

    “”I was trying to get in their faces a little and talk to them about their manhood and about getting after it and not wilting … and not being like a little girl and backing off,”” Larsen said.

    The ploy did not work, however, and UCSD fell 30-24.

    In what amounted to little more than a formality, the more confident side easily took the third game 30-20 for a three-game sweep.

    Perrine once again led the Tritons with 13 kills, Jim Waller added 11 and T.J. Young tallied eight coming off the bench. Thoreson and Joe Griffin combined for 38 assists while splitting the setting duty. Andy Rupp led the Tritons with five block assists.

    The aggravation of losing began to visibly reveal its effects during the loss.

    “”I thought tonight was where I could really see it out on the court, and the frustration was real evident. It was too emotional, and some people just needed to back off,”” Larsen said.

    The frustration carried beyond the court, and an attitude adjustment appears necessarily if UCSD retains hope for the second half of the season.

    “”It’s kind of like our whole team is getting used to losing, which is bullshit because we still have half a season left,”” Young said. “”I heard some negative comments in the room in the meeting today. It’s kind of a bummer coming from our top players.””

    The Tritons will take their first steps toward overcoming a fruitless first half against No. 7-ranked Long Beach State at RIMAC Arena on Feb. 26.

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