Men’s volleyball loses in straight sets to Matadors

    On the road for its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match of the season, it was up to the UCSD men’s volleyball team to step up its game and shut down Cal State Northridge. Instead, they lost on Jan. 14 in straight sets, 30-28, 30-25, 30-27.

    The Tritons kept every game close, but for their second match in a row, they lost 3-0. In the first game, UCSD showed many characteristics of a strong team, beating the Matadors in the team-attack percentage stat, .410 to .333. But the momentary advantage did not carry through, as Northridge pulled off the narrow victory in game one.

    In game two, the Matador defense was far better, holding the Tritons to a .140 attack percentage. UCSD’s defense improved as well, cutting its opponent’s percentage to .256; however, Northridge pulled off its second victory and remained comfortably ahead, 2-0.

    With the momentum in their favor, the Matadors charged ahead with a victory in the third game, ending the match and improving their record to 3-2 overall, 1-1 in the MPSF. The win in the final game was due to the Matadors’ match-high .484 attack percentage, which overwhelmed the Tritons’ percentage of .312. The loss drops the Tritons to 0-2 overall, 0-1 in league play.

    There were some bright spots for UCSD, as senior outside hitter Luke Honnette racked up 15 kills and a .303 attack percentage. Honnette has led the Tritons in kills and will need to maintain his success if the Tritons want to win a match this year. Junior outside hitter Brendan Bowe and freshman John Mark Wendler also stood out for UCSD with 10 kills and seven kills, respectively. Sophomore setter Brooks Dierdorff contributed 30 assists on the night.

    For the Matadors, Nils Nielsen and Brian Waite each had 14 kills and led their team to an easy victory. Setter Jeff Conover had a match-leading 41 assists. The Matadors also outblocked the Tritons, 10-6.5.

    Despite its two losses, UCSD has a squad of promising players and a favorable schedule that finds the team playing at home in two of their next three games. The 0-1 league record is something that the team will have many chances to improve upon as it squares off against numerous MPSF foes. Although it is an extremely competitive conference, the Tritons will have plenty of shots at victory. UCSD should have played against UC Santa Barbara in a league match on Jan. 12, but the closure of the 101 freeway postponed the match until Jan. 17. Results were not available at press time.

    Following the game against the Gauchos, UCSD will play the Stanford Cardinals and the University of the Pacific Tigers at RIMAC Arena on consecutive days, Jan. 21 and Jan. 22.

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