Volleyball Winless on Roadtrip

After a winless four-game road trip, the UCSD men’s volleyball team is happy to be back home.

On Jan. 20, the Tritons put up a good fight against No. 14 University of the Pacific, losing in four games. With the loss, UCSD dropped to 0-5 for the season and 0-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Tigers improved to 2-4, 1-2 MPSF.

The Tigers took control of game one from the start, cruising to an easy 19-30 victory. Junior outside hitter Andreas Baboulidis led the Tigers with 14 kills on the night and sophomore outside hitter Pekka Seppanen contributed with 13.

The Tigers continued their great play by jumping out in front in game two, eventually holding off a late surge by the Tritons to win the game 25-30.

After capturing the lead in game three, the Tritons allowed six-straight points by the Tigers, bringing the score to a tie at 28 apiece. UCSD showed its heart by bouncing back and scoring the two points needed to win the third set thanks to senior outside hitter Jon Daze and senior opposite Chris Sayers, who each had 16 kills for the match.

But the Tigers finally put things away by winning a close fourth game 25-30. Senior outside hitter Brian Adamson racked up double-digit kills, with 10, and junior setter Mitch Hazelett recorded 42 assists for UOP.

UCSD junior middle blocker Garret Smith also reached double digits with 12 kills. Junior setter Brooks Dierdorff led the match with 53 assists, while senior outside hitter Mike Reuter had 10 digs.

Just a day before the loss to the Tigers, the Tritons dropped a 25-30, 27-30, 26-30 decision to No. 15 Stanford, improving the Cardinal’s record to 2-5 for the season.

Sayers continued to lead the way for the Tritons with 10 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Russ Hardy added eight of his own.

The Cardinal started game one with three-straight points, including a service ace by senior outside hitter William Clayton. The game was tied at 18-18 when Stanford took the lead for good. Cardinal senior setter Jeremy Jacobs ended the game with a service ace.

Game two was even closer, coming to a tie at 26-26. But despite Dierdorff’s four kills and a 1.000 hitting percentage for the Tritons, the Cardinal ended the game with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Jesse Meredith, assisted by senior middle blocker Chris Ahlfeldt.

In game three, UCSD jumped out to an early lead, but it didn’t last long as a kill by sophomore middle blocker and opposite Matt Ceran put Stanford up 9-15. The Tritons chipped away at the lead and were able to pull within two points at 24-26, leading to a Stanford timeout. After the break, the Tritons again showed their inconsistency by committing both a service error and an attacking error. The errors allowed the Cardinal to score its last two points of the match on kills by Meredith and senior opposite Ben Reddy.

The Tritons will have no time to rest before they play No. 3 Pepperdine University, winners of 11 consecutive games and owners of an undefeated record against MPSF opponents.

“I know the difficulty of playing in the MPSF,” coach Kevin Ring said. “Our goal is [making the] playoffs, that’s the bottom line.”

To make the playoffs, the Tritons will have to win some games, something they have yet to accomplish this season. The team has a chance for that first win when it plays the Pepperdine Waves on Jan. 27 at RIMAC Arena.