The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian




The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian




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    Triton Rookies Win Streak of Six

    WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL — The UCSD women’s volleyball team had high expectations heading into the 2008 season. In its 2007 campaign, the Tritons were ranked in Division-II’s top 25 through all 28 games. In the California Collegiate Athletic Association rankings, UCSD tied for second and boasted an impressive 13-5 conference record. While many teams would have been satisfied to settle for such levels of success, the Tritons, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Tom Black, have worked harder than ever in the off-season to achieve even greater results this year.

    Senior All-American and team captain Rebecca Bailey said she feels that the team has the talent and the work ethic to bring home the D-II championship trophy.

    “Our team goal is to win nationals,” Bailey said. “I’m sure that every team says that, but we’ve done the work; we’ve put in a lot of extra hard work. We might not have the height that other teams do, but we have the heart and a work ethic that no other team does. We know that we can go all the way.”

    Though the Tritons lost three of six starters from last year’s squad, 10 letter-winners returned and, with a promising crop of recruits and the developing talent of several underclassmen, they seem poised to make a run for the title. Bailey pointed out that although they appear young, the newcomers fit settled right in and are already excelling.

    “It doesn’t even feel like we are a young team,” Bailey said. “In my opinion, this is the most mature team I’ve been on yet, and that’s surprising because there is a lot of youth on the squad.”

    Junior outside hitter Karen Reis feels that team unity is their strength, as even the most inexperienced team members challenge each other to do their best.
    “There is nonstop competition during practices for every single position,” Reis said. “Everyone has the potential to play and excel in matches, and this is a huge strength because we all push each other to be better. It also prepares us for the competition during games that much more.”

    The No. 18 Tritons opened their season with a tough matchup against No. 1 Concordia University on Aug. 29. In a hard-fought struggle, UCSD lost the first set, but came back to win the second and nearly the third before the Golden Bears took control of the set and ultimately the game. Despite the setback, the Tritons bounced back in their second game of the season to defeat No. 25 Lewis University, the first of six straight wins, which included a victory over No. 24 Brigham Young University-Idaho.

    In its conference opener, UCSD suffered from a slow start and dropped all three sets to the Golden Eagles from Cal State Los Angeles. Due to the loss, the Tritons dropped to 6-2, 0-1 CCAA. Yet the Tritons again showed resilience, springing back to take down conference foes Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State without losing a set.

    Up against the Toros of Cal State Dominguez Hills, the Tritons demonstrated why CCAA coaches predicted them to be the conference’s number-two team in a preseason poll. Using their depth of talent to experiment with several different lineups, UCSD held Cal State Dominguez Hills to a 0.000 hitting percentage, served nine aces and saw eight separate players record kills. The use of different lineups highlighted the team’s versatility, including redshirt freshman defensive specialist Roxanne Brunsting, who had a standout game with 10 digs, and sophomore middle blocker Kaitlin Potter, who recorded three blocks.

    In their next game, the 18th-ranked Tritons handled Cal State Monterey Bay by winning three straight sets 25-17, 25-20, 25-16. Bailey led the way with a match-high 14 kills against the Otters, while freshman outside hitter Hillary Williamson stepped up to deliver 12 kills. Freshman setter Thalia McCann, who saw her first considerable playing time and took advantage of the opportunity, recorded 39 assists, five digs and two blocks.

    To complete their three-game winning streak, the Tritons took down San Francisco State in a Sept. 20 road game. UCSD continued its solid streak, boasting a 0.275 hitting percentage and holding San Francisco State to 0.133. Distinguishing herself as one of the country’s premier outside hitters, Bailey hit 0.458 with 12 kills while junior outside hitter Sylvia Schmidt added nine. Williamson also maintained a strong serve, delivering four of the Tritons’ 10 aces.

    From the games they’ve had so far, the Tritons have determined that they have the potential and the mindset to win it all — they’ll just need to come gametime.

    “We’re starting to put everything together little by little and making it happen,” Bailey said. “We are the team that is going to get there. We love competition — that’s what we work so hard for.

    After some early season success, the Tritons are confident about reaching their goal, but trying not to become overconfident. Reis believes that the team has the right attitude to bring home the championship.

    “We treat every point the same, no matter if we are winning or losing,” Reis said. “We prepare for each point the same, take each match and each game the same. It really keeps us grounded.”

    With their latest victory, the No. 18 Tritons improved to an impressive 9-2, 3-1 in the CCAA. They return to action on Sept. 26, when they will host the undefeated and top-ranked Cal State San Bernardino at 7 p.m. in RIMAC Arena.

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