Tritons Defeat USC, Pepperdine Proves a Challenge

On Thursday, Jan. 10, the Tritons overcame the Trojans in a dominant three-game showing, winning 25–22, 25–22, 25–20. The match featured the offensive strength of a UCSD squad with one more year of experience under their belts, with the scoring spread across the Triton bench. Senior outside hitter Carl Eberts led all scorers with 16 kills, as well as a match-high nine digs. Junior opposite Vaun Lennon and sophomore opposite Cheyne Hayes both recorded nine kills apiece.

“I think we really have more depth than we’ve had in the past,” Eberts said. “It makes it really competitive in practice and that translates into good team play.” The win marks UCSD’s first victory over USC since 2009, as well as the Tritons’ first eighth win in 13 games.

“I think each game was really decisive,” UCSD head coach Kevin Ring said. “We didn’t look ahead too far. We took care of game one, we had our moments in game two; we kind of had to get ourselves back in it. And certainly in game three as well we got behind early, but overall it was a very solid win.”

But the Tritons faltered last Saturday, Jan. 12 against Pepperdine. Sophomore opposite Cheyne Hayes led all players with 11 kills, but the Waves’ 15–2 advantage in total team blocks worked in Pepperdine’s favor. The Waves ultimately took the match with scores of 25–13, 25–13, 25–15.

Despite the Waves’ domination of the game, junior setter Mike Brunsting had 14 assists and a match-high eight digs for UCSD.

Pepperdine left little room for the Tritons to fight back with just seven tie scores, two lead changes, and game play lasting less than 70 minutes. By the end of the match, the Tritons fell to 2–3 overall and 1–1 in the MPSF, while Pepperdine claimed its first MPSF win this season.

UCSD’s hopes stay high as Eberts comes closer to becoming the fifth Triton ever to reach the 1,000-kill mark when his four kills against the Waves upped his career total to 809, the ninth-most in program history.

With five more digs, senior setter Chase Frishman has made the sixth-most of all time for UCSD, with 483 career digs.

UCSD will host another game this Thursday night, Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m., against No. 12 MPSF opponent California Baptist University (2–1, 0–0 MPSF).