Men's volleyball gives Bruins tough run in match at RIMAC

    It’s deja vu all over again for the UCSD men’s volleyball team. After a tough loss to Long Beach State, the Tritons made yet another switch at setter, but still suffered a similar loss three nights later against UCLA.

    Jessica Horton
    Guardian

    UCSD head coach Ron Larsen trotted out the same lineup on Feb. 26 that he’d used in prior matches, with senior Tye Thoreson doing the setting. Just like they have made a habit of doing, the Tritons hung close for the first game. Despite the 49ers’ quick 8-4 start, UCSD showed that it was willing to battle and tied the game at 10. Neither team was able to separate, and after the Tritons fought off a game point, the score leveled at 29 apiece. LBSU was able to earn a side out, however, and a Triton attack error gave the 49ers the game.

    Showing more resolve than it has displayed in previous matches, UCSD hung tough after the loss in the first game and stayed competitive in the second. In the end, the 49ers held on for a narrow 30-27 victory.

    The more athletic LBSU wore down the Tritons in the third game and cruised to the 30-19 sweep.

    Thoreson picked up 33 assists and Eric Perrine led UCSD with 11 kills, while Adam Toren added nine and a team-high six digs.

    Failing to capitalize on the opportunity they had in the first game is something the Tritons were definitely concerned with, but they insisted that their lack of success in those situations in the past was not a factor.

    “”It wasn’t a lack of confidence, it’s just that we needed to push on that and we didn’t,”” Toren said. “”It’s a tough loss.””

    UCSD returned to action March 1 in another Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match with UCLA. Possibly responding to the results of a team survey he conducted over the weekend, Larsen played Perrine at setter in hopes of getting a better result.

    The first game was a shootout, with both teams combining for 55 kills on only 13 errors and treating the fans at RIMAC Arena to a classic duel. The Tritons hit nearly .200 points above their attacking percentage on the season, hitting .408, while the Bruins countered with a .478 mark of their own. UCLA had the first chance to put the game away at 29-28, but the Tritons were able to get a side out and level the score. The Tritons had the next game point at 30-29, but the Bruins were also able to get a stop. After four unsuccessful attempts to close the match by UCLA and three by UCSD, Bruin outside hitter Jonathan Acosta came up with back-to-back solo blocks on Jim Waller to steal the game for UCLA at 37-35.

    Waller had 11 of his match-high 18 kills in the first game, and Andy Rupp tallied seven in the first frame en route to a season-high 13.

    The first game was to be the high point for the Tritons, however, since UCSD managed only 25 kills in the last two combined, compared to 27 in the first game alone.

    UCLA used a balanced offense that saw three players with double-digit kill figures to finish the Tritons 30-23 and 30-26 in the final two games.

    Perrine dished out 49 assists in his return to the setter slot, Kevin Keyser picked up six block assists and Waller led the team with 10 digs.

    Despite the loss, the team still feels like it’s headed in the right direction, especially with Perrine setting.

    “”[With Perrine setting], I think overall the team just has more confidence. We play better because of it,”” Rupp said. “”We’re a lot closer even if the score doesn’t show it.””

    The Tritons take to the court next on March 5 against UC Irvine at RIMAC Arena, still looking for their first MPSF win.

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