Club Sports

    The UCSD women’s rugby team seemed unstoppable all year, defeating its opponents with the greatest of ease and finishing the regular season undefeated. And with two resounding playoff wins this past weekend, the label of “”unstoppable”” seems justified.

    UCSD was chosen to host two rounds of the National Women’s Rugby Playoffs, held at Warren Field on April 19 and April 20. Other colleges competing in the Sweet Sixteen bracket included University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Navy and Dartmouth. The event was attended by a large crowd, made up of friends and parents from all over the country, and alumni ruggers and prominent ruggers from all over Southern California.

    The first draw of the Sweet Sixteen pitted the Tritons against UNC on the first day of competition, with UCSD coming out on top after holding off UNC on its goal line for the final minutes of the match in a nail-biting finish.

    The two teams battled back and forth for the first half, with UNC scoring first with a try, but failing its conversion.

    UCSD’s inside center Kirstin Hartos put the first Triton points on the board with a penalty kick, closing the gap to 5-3, but later in the half, UNC scored another try but again failed on the conversion. Another penalty kick by Hartos kept UCSD in the game, making the score 10-6 at the half.

    Realizing that their dreams of a national title were in danger, the Tritons’ defense stepped up after halftime, shutting out UNC in the second half. UCSD finally got a try late in the second after its forwards dragged the ball close to the goal line, giving Kristin King the opportunity to get a quick pickup and dive for the goal line. After stopping UNC’s final drive, UCSD took the match 16-10.

    On April 20, UCSD played Dartmouth, whose ladies were shocked that they won the Saturday game over the formidable Navy team. UCSD was also expecting to face the Navy in the second round, since it had played in the Final Four the year before.

    Despite shutting out Dartmouth at the Champagne Classic only a month earlier, UCSD knew it would be a tough match.

    The Tritons dominated much of the match, even using all available substitute players, and UCSD came out victorious again, shutting out Dartmouth 38-0.

    UCSD’s Maurin Wallace had several strong runs with the ball all weekend, including a diving score against Dartmouth. Candace Jackman, the Tritons’ aggressive flanker, was also quick off the pack, and Tina Evangelou showed off her kicking foot for several counter-attack plays.

    Although charged up with their past success, the Tritons seek to win the national championship by taking it one game at a time. The ladies have been working on combining the efforts of the forward pack and the back line for weeks in practice, and this cohesion has come through in their games thus far.

    UCSD is now headed to the Women’s National Collegiate Final Four to be held at Stanford on May 3. UCSD will be facing some tough competition with Penn State, Air Force and Illinois State also making it this far into the playoffs. In their first Final Four game, the Tritons are set to face Illinois State.

    BADMINTON

    The UCSD badminton team hosted the 2003 National Collegiate Badminton Championships this past weekend. Twenty-two colleges attended the three-day event, showcasing some of the finest collegiate players from around the nation, yet it was the home team that took home the glory.

    UCSD was declared the 2003 Badminton National Champions at the end of competition, with UCSD players fighting through the playoffs in every division.

    The team of Chhay Taing, Julian Wu, Scott Bering, Phil Bratton, Mike Do and David Lamb took second place overall in the men’s competition with solid finishes from all the players. Taing was able to fight through a singles competition of 60 competitors to make it to the semifinals, in which he lost to the eventual champion. Wu and Bering made it to the men’s doubles final, but they lost to a team from San Jose State in straight sets.

    The UCSD women experienced similar success, with the team of Dede Davis, Dara Walsh, Riyouko Lim, Grace Cheung, Stephanie Obayashi and Lillian Lai tying for first place in the women’s competition. The veteran doubles-duo of Davis and Walsh gave a strong performance in their semifinals match, beating arch-rivals UC Irvine in straight sets. In the doubles final, the ladies lost the first set, but fought back and won the second. Up 11-1 in the third, Davis and Walsh were four points shy of winning the title, but they lost 15-11 in a comeback by the three-time defending women’s doubles champions from Howard.

    With the first and second place performances from both teams, UCSD took home the national title by having the most overall points.

    Now with the national title, the badminton team looks to win the league title. The final match will take place on May 24 at the UCSD Main Gym against rivals Irvine and Pasadena City College. Both Irvine and UCSD are undefeated in league play, but with a well-deserved victory over UCI at nationals, the Tritons are optimistic about their chances.

    MEN’S LACROSSE

    Following one of its best season in years, the No. 17 UCSD men’s lacrosse team was eliminated from Western Collegiate Lacrosse League playoffs after falling to No. 12 Chapman 12-11 in double overtime.

    Back when the two teams met on March 9, Chapman also pulled off a one-goal victory.

    In the latest meeting, both teams were tied at 1-1 with 5:14 remaining in the first quarter. With each team’s top scorer closely guarded, neither team seemed to have any success executing their offensive game plan. Chapman’s Danny Metoyer, WCLL’s point leader, was locked off by UCSD defenseman Brandon Hayes while the Tritons Ross Stensrud, WCLL’s second-leading scorer, was similarly guarded.

    Toward the end of the first quarter, UCSD came out strong, scoring five consecutive goals to take a 6-1 lead at the 11:50 mark in the second quarter. With a man-up opportunity early in the second quarter, UCSD took advantage and scored two goals during the three-minute penalty period. Freshman attackman Nick Dean contributed two goals and one assist during the Tritons 5-0 run.

    But in typical rivalry fashion, Chapman would come back with a 5-1 run of their own. With Metoyer completely shut off, four different Panther players scored the first four Chapman goals in the second quarter. Metoyer was able to score his second goal of the game on a man-up opportunity to end the half with UCSD leading 7-6.

    Chapman carried its momentum into the second half, scoring five out of the next six goals to take an 11-8 lead with 9:24 remaining the game.

    Just when UCSD seemed to have lost grip of the game, the Tritons explosive attack duo of Dean and Stensrud led the Tritons in a spirited comeback effort.

    Dean and Stensrud would score the next two goals to bring UCSD within one goal with five minutes remaining. UCSD’s 10th goal was a shorthanded one by Stensrud. Stensrud caught goalie Jody Hochstein’s pass on their man-down clear and sprinted to the cage to net the ball, making the score 11-10. Then the Tritons tied the game at the 4:09 mark when Stensrud hit Dean on a cross-cage pass for the game-tying goal.

    Chapman would dominate ball possession for the rest of the fourth quarter but was unable to score on several golden opportunities.

    In the first overtime, the Panthers held the ball for nearly two and a half minutes. Despite getting off five good shot attempts, all but one of them badly missed the cage. Their only shot on goal was saved by Hochstein (10 saves). UCSD set up for the final possession in the first overtime, but Dean’s shot in front of the goal was blocked with just 10 seconds remaining.

    Unlike the first overtime, the Panthers wasted no time before they decided to go for the game winning shot. Grubin won the face-off in the second overtime and got it to Donnelly. Donnelly quickly circled around the net and found a wide-open Grubin in the right crease area for the goal.

    Despite being eliminated in the WCLL quarterfinals, UCSD again showed why they should be considered for a bid in the U.S. Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates National Championship Tournament. After starting off with zero votes for the Top 25 USLIA poll, the Tritons hard fought all season to gain respect in the USLIA.

    “”In a game like this, its too bad one team has to lose,”” said UCSD head coach Ed Jeziorski. “”We’ve had a great season. I really believe we’re one of the top 16 teams in the USLIA.””

    Stensrud credited the unity of the Tritons on their surprising 2003 campaign.

    “”This is the best team I’ve ever been on,”” Stensrud said. “”The closeness of this team is just indescribable. Its been a pleasure playing with Matt (Lafiandra) and Nick (Dean). I felt we were one of the best attack trios in the USLIA. I am really proud that our team was able to gain a lot of respect this season.””

    UCSD waits and hopes what they accomplished this season gets them a chance to continue their season in St. Louis.

    WATERSKI

    The defending tournament champion UCSD waterski team took home third place in the annual Paradise Found Collegiate Waterski Classic, hosted by SDSU and UC Santa Barbara at the legendary Horton’s Lakes in Barstow, Calif. Arizona State and UC Santa Cruz took home the top awards of the day.

    Peter Mehroff led UCSD to the men’s team hump title, taking fifth individually, and he added solid performances in trick and slalom to take second in the individual overall. David Wiens added a top five in the trick event to join Mehrhoff in leading an often struggling Triton men’s team to a third place finish overall.

    Katie Ambrose took third overall to lead UCSD’s women’s team.

    The Triton waterski team will travel April 26 and April 27 to the Western Washington hosted Western Region All Star Qualifier at Borderline Lake in Washington.

    UPCOMING EVENTS

    April 26

    Men’s & Women’s Ultimate Sectionals, Muir Field & Warren Field (ends April 27)

    Waterski @ Western Washington (ends April 27)

    — Compiled by Anu Kumar

    Sports Editor

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