Triton Volleyball Splits Games

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL —In two match-ups this week, the UCSD men’s volleyball team swept Hope International University 3-0, then fell 3-1 to Pepperdine University as senior setter Phil Bannan picked up the school’s all-time assists record.

During the Tuesday match against Hope International, Hope came out strong in the first match, jumping to a quick lead at 6-2, but the Tritons were able to bring it to a tie at 11-11. After a struggle with four more lead changes, UCSD was able to take the first set.

“We came out a little sloppy in game one,” UCSD head coach Kevin Ring said. “I just felt like our heads weren’t in it, so I reminded them on the sidelines to get their head back in the game. And we didn’t play great, but I think we’re the better team and the better team won tonight, but we had to work at it.”

The Tritons were able to show more strength in the second set, hitting a .500 to the Royals’ .091. The team jumped to a huge lead and kept it through the game, resulting in a 25-14 set score.

The third game was more difficult for the team, with 12 tie scores and five lead changes. The score landed at 25-22 in favor of UCSD.

“In game three we were just playing OK,” Ring said. “Our numbers were just OK statistically, but we did what we needed to do, got the victory, kept it a short night.”

Friday’s game against Pepperdine did not hold such good results for the Tritons. The Waves took UCSD 3-1 with scores of 25-22, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-22.

“The thing that was really costly was that we didn’t block very well,” Ring said. “[The Waves] really felt really comfortable attacking at the net, and when you feel that way you swing with confidence, and smoothly, so we just didn’t do enough in that regard to slow them down.”

UCSD kept the scores close but couldn’t take the victory in matches three and four.

“When you’re playing behind, you’re down two games to one, you get behind in game four against a good team like that that’s not going to make a lot of errors that is a tough hill to climb,” Ring said. “But I felt like we stayed in it and fought hard and made a game of it. It just wasn’t our night, but overall I’m proud of how we played.”

Despite the loss, Bannan was the star of the night, collecting the assist that gave him the record lead in the first set and continuing on to collect 25 more before the night was out. Bannan now has 3,893 assists in his career at UCSD, topping previous record holder Brooks Dierdorff’s 3,867 assists.

“This is something I probably saw in him his freshman year,” Ring said. “He’s been that consistent and it just is remarkable. He is one of the top setters in our conference and there are a lot of good ones. But he makes some plays that not too many other setters can make. We’re fortunate that he’s on our side of the net.”

Bannan downplayed the remark, instead focusing on the team effort.

“I’m not here to break any records; I’m here to help my team win matches,” Bannan said.  “I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The Tritons will be playing their next two MPSF matches at Pacific and Stanford, but will be back at RIMAC at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18 to face Cal State Long Beach.

Readers can contact Hanna Rahimi at [email protected].