UCSD snaps long losing streak

The UCSD men’s volleyball team finally broke through with a win, but its woes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation continue. The Tritons beat Concordia College of New York 3-0 to snap a nine-match losing streak on March 8 after dropping a 3-0 decision to fourth-ranked UC Irvine earlier in the week.

The Clippers of Concordia brought a paltry seven players to RIMAC Arena for the match with the host Tritons. Since one of those players did not dress, Concordia was left with no substitutes and no chance.

Even after taking two days off from practice, UCSD easily overpowered the Clippers in games one and two, taking convincing 30-21 and 30-17 wins and hitting .395 compared to Concordia’s .057. UCSD head coach Ron Larsen used a lineup of primarily reserves in the third game, and although the Tritons went down 5-0 early, they were able to rally back and hold off the Clippers 36-34.

UCSD opposite Jim Waller expressed supreme confidence before the match.

“”They’re an East Coast team that’s just not really good. They’re more on vacation than here to play volleyball. Last year, they had one good player, and they don’t even have him anymore,”” Waller said.

Waller led the Tritons with 18 kills while attacking .583 and also picking up six digs to lead the team. Setter Eric Perrine distributed 43 assists and had seven block assists. Middle blocker Andy Rupp also had seven block assists when UCSD accomplished the rare feat of out-blocking its opponent 13.5-7.

On March 5 against national powerhouse UC Irvine, the Tritons were unable to be as prolific with their blocking — the Anteaters held an 11-4 advantage in that category — and missed opportunities caused UCSD to fall by the narrowest of margins.

The Tritons played tough with UCI for the entire first game, with neither team able to mount a significant lead. UCSD stopped the Anteaters attempts to close out the game at 29-28 and 30-29, but UCI finally broke through with a big block to take the 32-30 victory.

Even after a tough loss in the opener, the Tritons bounced back and fought hard in the second game. After running out to an 8-3 lead, the Anteaters called a timeout and regrouped. UCI then came storming back and leveled the game at 10-10. It was nip and tuck for the rest of the time while each team struggled to overcome mistakes. UCSD showed more toughness and resolve, fighting off two more game points for UCI, but the Anteaters held off four chances to close off the game, and finally capitalized on an opportunity, taking the win 36-34.

Game three was more of the same, since the Tritons simply couldn’t get over the hump and dropped the third-consecutive game by two points, 30-28.

“”It’s all about making plays on big points. Everybody out there has a time in there where they lose their concentration and their focus,”” Larsen said. “”I don’t think those are the kind of mistakes that really good teams make.””

Waller commented on how painful the loss felt.

“”It’s tough to lose like that because you know how close you were,”” he said. “”It’s hard to play well and still come up with a loss.””

Perrine put up 51 assists in the loss, and Kevin Keyser and Adam Toren each joined Waller in double-digits with 10, 15 and 19 kills, respectively. UCSD hit .350 for the match.

Despite the impressive statistics, the Tritons will try to break through in the one column that matters — the win column — with a big MPSF match March 12 at USC.