Winter Season Preview

    — Nine games into the season, six games into conference play, the Tritons are 2–7 in 2012–13.

    With 16 games left in the regular season, the UCSD Men’s Basketball team is tied for last in the CCAA alongside Humboldt State and Cal State Stanislaus. The three teams begin 2013 with a paltry 1–5 record — one win worse than UCSD’s start this time last season.

    Granted, the Tritons have trudged through one of the toughest CCAA schedules this early on, facing 6–0 Cal State San Bernardino twice as well as narrowly dropping a 52–51 decision to second place Cal Poly Pomona.

    Fortunately, UCSD’s next batch of games will be against the bottom half of the conference. With the exception of a match against Chico State, who will kick off a homestand for the Tritons this Friday, Jan. 11, UCSD will face CSU Stanislaus (1–5), CSU Monterey Bay (2–4) and CSU East Bay (3–3). A pair of wins could prove crucial for UCSD, who has the opportunity to launch itself out of last place and is among the pack of teams tied with 3–3 records.

    Although the Tritons seem to have restructured their formation in order to accommodate a smaller group, the departure of 6-foot-8 center Christian Hatch still reverberates through the squad. While last season the Tritons always had the option of dumping the ball into Hatch, this season UCSD relies primarily on a perimeter game. Senior shooter Tyler McGrath leads UCSD in scoring, with 144 points in his nine games. McGrath is buttressed on the boards by junior point guard James McCann and senior forward Justin Brue.

    The Tritons continue to get quality minutes out of senior utility Ryan Peters and junior guard MacKenzie McCullough, but have also seen contributions from their two freshmen. Redshirt freshman Brandon Blanchard has led UCSD on the boards twice this season, while Dyer — a center with an affinity for the perimeter — scored a team-high 19 points in the Tritons’ last game against Humboldt State.

    This weekend, UCSD returns to RIMAC, where it will face Chico State this Friday, Jan. 11 and CSU Stanislaus on Saturday.

    WOMEN’S BASKETBALL — Without last season’s top scorer Chelsea Carlisle and 2012 California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year Charity Elliott, the new management still seems to be finding its footing at the start of the 2013 season.

    It’s unlikely that the Tritons will reach last season’s 18-game winning streak, as UCSD (6–7, 4–2 in CCAA) has yet to pull above .500, but UCSD head coach Heidi VanDerveer asserts that the team will continue to show improvement throughout the season.

    “They’re learning a whole new system, a whole new style and I think things are behind because of that,” she said. “We have a very motivated, bright group so they’re making adjustments very well.”

    Senior Daisy Feder has largely filled the hole left by Carlisle. Her fifth-year season is averaging 21.1 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game, leading the Tritons in both categories. Senior guard Emily Osga and junior forward Erin Dautremont lend experience to an otherwise very young squad. In combination with Feder, the three stand as the remnants of last season’s starting lineup and are also the team’s top scorers.

    This season, senior forward Erin Grady sits on the block for graduated forward Lauren Freidenberg, while sophomore point guard Miranda Seto — who has shown marked improvement from her freshman season — steps in for Carlisle.

    Currently, the Tritons are tied for second in the conference with Cal State Los Angeles, behind 6–0 Chico State. The Wildcats are the only team in the conference without a loss and will travel to UCSD this Friday, Jan. 11.

    MEN’S VOLLEYBALL — The UCSD Men’s Volleyball team closed out last year with what head coach Kevin Ring described as one of its best seasons in recent memory.

    The Tritons opened this season at the UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational, where they finished in fourth place, going 1–2 against three nationally ranked squads. UCSD went to five sets in all three matches, taking a win against No. 5 Lewis University, while losing 2–3 to both No. 6 UCLA and No. 7 Cal State Long Beach.

    Last season, UCSD went 6–16 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation — admirable for the only Division-II team competing in the 13-team conference. Despite being picked to finish last in the annual MPSF Coaches’ Poll, look for the Tritons to overachieve again this season. Every player from the 2012 season returns to the rotation this season for UCSD, including senior outside hitter Carl Eberts and junior outside hitter Vaun Lennon. Eberts — 250 kills away from reaching 1,000 career kills, led the Tritons in kills and aces last season, while Lennon averaged just under Eberts.

    This Thursday, UCSD opens MPSF play against USC at 7:00 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. On Saturday, the Tritons remain at home to take on Pepperdine University at 1:00 p.m.

    SWIMMING AND DIVING — The UCSD Swimming and Diving team is the most decorated program at UCSD, with over 40 NCAA Championship appearances and a myriad of National Champions.

    This season, the expectations are just as high as they’ve been in years past. The Tritons return Nick Korth, the 2011 National Champion in the 200-meter breaststroke. Korth returns as the only national champion on the 2012¬–2013 roster, but UCSD Head Coach Corrie Falcon believes this season’s freshmen to be promising.

    “This is absolutely one of the strongest recruiting classes in [program] history,” Falcon said. “This is probably the strongest men’s class we’ve ever had, and this year’s female freshman class is probably on par with last year.”

    The Tritons opened the campaign back in November by winning every event against Claremont Mudd Scripps before falling to UC Santa Barbara. The following week, the Triton women finished a tepid ninth out of 13 while the Triton men placed third out of 9 teams.

    Competing in January, the UCSD women took down CSU East Bay and rivals Grand Canyon University, while the men conceded a 77–128 loss to Grand Canyon.

    UCSD continues their homestand this weekend Saturday Jan. 11–12 against Missouri Science and Technology and Loyola Marymount.

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