Triton Volleyball Falters After First Set in Both Matches This Week

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL — The UCSD men’s volleyball team took two tough MPSF Conference losses this weekend against Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge. Both matches saw the Tritons take the first set, through both times they failed to carry the momentum through to the next three.

Friday’s match with No. 3 Long Beach State saw set scores of 21-25, 25-20, 25-21 and 25-21. With late ties in all four games, the Tritons were only able to fight through and take the win in the first set.

“Neither team hit very well, the hitting efficiencies for both teams were pretty low, they missed quite a few serves,” head coach Kevin Ring said. “For each of the games we played tonight it was about finishing. Even in game one, that we won, we had a nice lead, and we gave up a couple points late. So that’s the one thing; late in the game, 18 all, can we go win those? And we didn’t in games two, three, and four.”

The score was tied at 15 in game two, and tied at 18 in games three and four before Long Beach pulled away each time.

Freshman middle blocker Sebastian Brady showed nine kills, one assist, one ace, four blocks and managed a game-high .615 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Carl Eberts got game-high 11 kills and eight digs, and junior opposite Shane Veiga collected 10 kills.

The Tritons have not beaten Long Beach State since 2007.

The Tritons came out strong against Cal Sate Northridge and hit .550 in the first set to win 25-18, but were unable to keep the power for the next three games and lost 25-22, 25-19,and 25-23. Overall hitting efficiencies showed the Tritons at .116 to the Matador’s .171, making  it a poor night for both teams.

“We just didn’t pressure that team,” Ring said. “They passed much better than we did tonight, and I think that’s a team that’s just OK at passing. And we let them off the hook and we didn’t have a guy on the service line who felt confident to say ‘I’m going to go stick my serve and get them out of position,’ so we weren’t scoring any points.”

Senior setter Phil Bannan collected 10 digs, four kills, two aces, and two blocks for a team-high .571 hits. Eberts took 13 kills, two aces, seven digs, and four blocks. Veiga had nine kills, six digs and four blocks, and Brady showed eight kills and four blocks.

After hitting over .500 in the first set, the Tritons hit .000, .080 and .031 over the next three sets. The Tritons also had 14 service errors, although Cal State Northridge had 15 service errors.

“You have to step up to the plate and realize there’s going to be a big block in front of you,” Ring said. “But what’s new? We face that every night. We have to go out and have a little fight in us and I thought we just went down, down, down.”

After upset wins against University of Pacific and Stanford last week, Ring said he knows what his team is capable of.

“We just have to get back to playing good volleyball,” Ring said. “Controlling what we can control; the things that we have to do well to win matches are serve tough and pass really well. It’s not so much about the outcome of the match, we just have to be in the match in the moment doing the things we are capable of doing.”

Ring also cited the quality of the league as a reason for the Tritons’ inconsistency.

“We aren’t the only team who has done this,” Ring said. “We can’t hang our heads, we’ve had a couple of rough nights and not played that well but this has happened to every team out there. That’s how good this league is.”

UCSD fell to 6-10 overall and 3-7 in conference play.

The team will face BYU twice in Provo, Utah this weekend on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. The Tritons will be back at RIMAC Arena Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 for rematches against Pacific and Stanford. Both games will be at 7 p.m.

Readers can contact Hanna Rahimi at [email protected]