Best of Triton Athletics 2009-2010

OUTSTANDING TEAM

BASEBALL

UCSD baseball may have come just short of a national title, but its season was far from a disappointment. In fact, it was the most successful run to date, and it’s hard to argue that this team was anything but one of the nation’s best: 54 wins, only eight losses and just two runs short of a national title. The Tritons never dropped below fourth in the national rankings and were the top-ranked team for the final month of the season. UCSD also raked in the individual accolades, with a phenomenal six players named to the All-American team. Senior Vance Albitz won third Gold Glove and repeated as National Defensive Player of the Year, and senior Brandon Gregorich took CCAA Player of the Year honors. The list goes on, but the message is clear: Baseball was UCSD’s best team this year.

Honorable Mention

Men’s Water Polo, Women’s Water Polo

BEST MALE ATHLETE

BSB Brandon Gregorich

Whatever the secret to hitting may be, Gregorich certainly found it this year. With new school records in hits, doubles and RBIs in a season, the senior first baseman undoubtedly had one of the best seasons in UCSD baseball history all while hitting a ridiculously high .455 average. His awards are too numerous to list in full: CCAA Player of the Year, Daktronics West Region Player of the Year and ABCA/Rawlings All-American are only some of the highlights of his trophy case. Gregorich’s success at the plate helped drive the Tritons all the way to the Division-II championship game, where they narrowly lost to Southern Indiana University. Nonetheless, Gregorich’s performance this season will go down in the Tritons’ history books as one of the best UCSD has ever seen.

Honorable Mention

Vance Albitz (Baseball)

Dan Perdew (Swimming)

Steven Donohoe (Men’s Water Polo)

Jordan Lawley (Men’s Basketball)

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE

WBB Chelsea Carlisle

With her ability to score from anywhere when her team most needed it, Carlisle set herself apart as the Tritons’ leader on the floor. The sophomore guard guided the Tritons to a 25-5 season and a second consecutive CCAA title, picking up the CCAA Most Valuable Player Award along the way. Carlisle averaged a team-high 17.4 points per game, and also led the Tritons in assists and steals. Her efforts led to her being named as a first team All-American — the only underclassman named to the squad — as well as the Daktronics West Region Player of the Year. Carlisle surely has many more stellar games left in her career, but her consistent performance this season was second-to-none.

Honorable Mention

Christine Merrill (Track and Field)

Lisa Bradley (Women’s Soccer)

Alex Henley (Swimming)

Sylvia Schmidt (Women’s Volleyball)

BEST GRADUATING SENIOR

SWIM DAN PERDEW

For all Perdew’s achievements in the pool, his collection of national championships do the most to say he’s one of the best athletes to ever represent UCSD. He won his first titles as a sophomore in the 50 fly and 100 free, setting school records in both events. He became champion in the 100 free for three straight years, and his winning 100-yard freestyle time of 43.30 seconds in 2009 still stands as an NCAA Division-II record. It doesn’t end there — he has been featured in Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd” segment, met the qualifying standards for U.S. Olympic Trials and finished his career holding school records in four separate events. With five national titles in his career, Perdew graduates from UCSD as one of the top sprinters in all of Division-II swimming.

Honorable Mention

Vance Albitz (Baseball)

Steven Donohoe (Men’s Water Polo)

Linda Rainwater (Track and Field)

Christine Merrill (Track and Field)

BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE

BSB MATT ROSSMAN

Against Central Missouri University at the College World Series

During the second game of the Division-II College World Series in Cary, N.C., Rossman got the starting nod and did not disappoint. Rossman kept a no-hitter through the eighth inning, but allowed two straight doubles that let Mules tie the game 1-1. The game moved on to extra innings, but the Triton bullpen stayed empty, and Rossman settled down to continue his pitching dominance. Rossman did not allow a single hit for the rest of the game, which finally ended thanks to an RBI single from Kellen Lee. The senior righty finished the day with an 11-inning complete game, allowing only two hits and striking out 12 batters. A complete game is hard enough, but for a pitcher to pitch 11 dominant innings is unheard of. In his last start as a Triton, Rossman’s outing against Central Missouri set the standard for playoff performances.

Honorable Mention

Nick Howe at D-II Nationals (Track and Field)

Annette Ilg against Humboldt State in the NCAA Tournament (Women’s Basketball)

BEST GAME

WSOC UCSD 2, CHICO STATE 1

AT NCAA D-II TOURNAMENT

In the second round of the NCAA Division-II TOURNAMENT

on Nov. 14, UCSD hosted Chico State in a battle of conference foes. The Tritons were making their seventh appearance in the second round, while it was the Wildcats first — yet Chico had beaten UCSD 2-0 when the two first met on 2009 on Sep. 20. The Wildcats came out strong and struck first in the 23rd minute, but the Tritons didn’t wait long to equalize. Less than 60 seconds later, sophomore striker Sarah McTigue hit a blistering shot from the top of the box into the top-left corner of the goal, and the game was tied at 1-1. The deadlock was finally broken in the 86th minute, when McTigue gathered a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired in a hard shot. The ball slipped past the goalkeeper, and the Tritons survived a frantic last few minutes for the 2-1 win. The dramatic goal provided for UCSD’s most entertaining game this year and sent the Tritons into the third round of the tournament.

Honorable Mention

UCSD 2, Central Missouri University 1 (Baseball)

UCSD 71, Cal Poly Pomona 69 (Women’s Basketball)

UCSD 91, San Francisco State 86 (Men’s Basketball)

UCSD 4, Loyola Marymount 5 (Men’s Water Polo)

BEST MOMENT

T&F LINDA RAINWATER

AT CCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Despite being ranked as the top women’s high-jumper in Division-II, Rainwater struggled to win her conference championship. She was only able to clear 5’5.25” — almost five inches below her personal best — and had to go to a jump-off to break a tie with her nearest competitor. Rainwater had been unable to shake a nagging back injury for several weeks, and by the end of the competition was in so much pain that she needed to be helped off the mat after each jump. It wasn’t discovered until later that Rainwater was actually competing with a fractured back. “If we knew at the time we would have pulled her,” head coach Tony Salerno said. “She said she had some pain but that she could still jump.” Rainwater managed to clear 5’7.25”, allowing her to take her second straight conference title. Rainwater’s tough performance demonstrates a tenacity that few athletes can claim to have.

Honorable Mention

Aaron Bauman’s walk-off single against Georgia College (Baseball)

Men’s volleyball beats Pepperdine for the first time on senior night

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE

T&F NICK HOWE

As a sport that is not sanctioned in high school athletics, the javelin is usually dominated by upperclassmen. Howe shattered this mold a year ago when he burst on the scene as a freshman to win the CCAA title and earn CCAA Freshman of the Year honors. But it was during his sophomore season that Howe developed into a top athlete, progressing at a rate that exceeded everyone’s expectations — in less than one year, he furthered his best throw by close to 25 feet. On May 29, Howe took home a national title, throwing 225 feet at the championship meet in Charlotte, N.C., to become UCSD’s first male track and field champion at the Division-II level.

Honorable Mention

Erik Elliott (Men’s Tennis)

Kyle Saul (Baseball)

Tiffany Hunter (Women’s Basketball)

Kristen Armstrong (Women’s Soccer)

Jessica Wi (Women’s Soccer)

BEST COACH OR MANAGER

BSB DAN O’BRIEN

O’Brien has headed the Triton baseball program for 13 years, transforming the team from a middle-of-the-road Division-III squad to a Division-II powerhouse that expects to be among the nation’s best. It culminated in this year’s remarkable season, where the Tritons came within two runs of a national championship. O’Brien coaxed 54 wins out of his team while accumulating only eight losses — both records for the program. His team’s performance earned him a second consecutive CCAA Coach of the Year Award, which only cemented his place as the top baseball coach in school history.

Honorable Mention

Denny Harper (Men’s Water Polo)

Charity Elliott (Women’s Basketball)

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