UCSD Falls on the Road to No. 1 USC and No. 6 Pepperdine

    The Tritons were shut out in both games. On Thursday, April 5 against the Trojans, UCSD logged a dismal six kills on eight attempts, for a -0.08 attack percentage, falling 1625 in the first set.

    UCSD failed to rebound in the second set, as the Tritons recorded another sloppy offensive performance, with 10 kills on nine errors. While on the other side of the net, USC remained on point, slating just 11 errors to the Tritons’ 26.

    “We had a lot of confidence heading into our match with No. 1 ranked USC as we were
    riding a five match winning streak with victories over [UC Santa Barbara], [CSU Long Beach], [CSU Northridge], UCLA and UCSB again,” head coach Kevin Ring said in an email interview.  “USC was on a great streak of their own as they had won 13 in a row heading into the match with us. I felt like we played well at times, but we let USC control the match from the service line.”
       
    Junior outside hitter Carl Eberts led the Tritons in the attack with 12 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Vaun Lennon — last week’s AVCA National Player of the Week — chipped in eight kills.


        The sets were much tighter in Malibu. The Tritons lost a close 23
    25 opening set, falling down the stretch despite out-hitting the Waves 10 kills to eight.
       
    Down 1
    0, the Tritons seemed to lose some momentum, falling 1925, in a set that was never really close.

    The Tritons went point-for-point with Pepperdine in the last set, until, with the score 1816, the Waves’ Kyle Gerrans caught fire, logging three straight points to go up 2116. The Tritons pulled back to within three points, but two costly UCSD service errors made the difference sunk the Tritons 2125.

    “In the course of the match versus Pepperdine we drastically improved our offensive production each game, but so did Pepperdine,” Ring said. “We didn’t serve tough enough, either missing too many serves or serving their best passer, so we struggled to slow down Pepperdine.”

    With the pair of losses, the Tritons fall to 818 overall and 615 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

    The Tritons will look to claim a spot in the eight-team MPSF tournament. UCSD is still statistically in the hunt, but the Tritons will need to win their last match and hope that UC Santa Barbara wins their last two and that CSU Northridge drops their last two. BYU, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA and USC have all secured spots in the conference tournament.

    “We have one more conference match remaining and we are still in the hunt for a playoff position,” Ring said. “We’ll get back to practice on Monday and give it our best shot next Saturday.”

    UCSD will host their last two regular season matches. On Thursday, April 12, the Tritons will host a non-conference match against Cal Baptist and on Saturday, April 14, UCSD rounds out its regular season with a bout against UC Irvine.

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