The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian




The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian




2015 Winter Season Preview

Photo+by+Alwin+Szeto
Photo by Alwin Szeto
Photo by Alwin Szeto
Photo by Alwin Szeto

Men’s Basketball
Current Record: 5–5, 3–3 in CCAA, Next Match: Jan. 9 vs. Sonoma State
Despite kicking off its 2015 season with inconsistency, the UCSD men’s basketball team shows a promising year to come as the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s dark horse. With no seniors, only six players returning from last season’s squad and the addition of six freshmen, the young team is predicted to finish ninth in the 12-team conference. However, after upsetting the predicted league champion Cal Poly Pomona in the conference opener and taking down another strong league contender in Chico State, the Tritons have already proved that their brand of basketball can beat any team on any given night. Junior forward Drew Dyer leads the team with 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. Junior guard and forward Hunter Walker — currently in the midst of a breakout season — has stepped up tremendously, averaging 13.1 points, while leading the team in assists, steals and blocks. The supporting cast of last year’s lineup has remained mostly intact, with sophomore guard Aleks Lipovic continuing to hit the three-point shot, sophomore guard Adam Klie providing efficient scoring near the basket and junior forward Zach McMillan contributing solid minutes and rebounding off the bench. The Tritons are currently tied for seventh place but have the potential to make a push for the playoffs come season end.

Women’s Basketball
Current Record: 6–5, 4–2 in CCAA, Next Match: Jan. 9 vs. Sonoma State
After a lackluster 1–3 start to their 2014–15 season, the Triton women appeared to have recently found their groove after winning five of their last seven games. Leading the charge is junior forward Farrah Shokoor who, in only her first year at UCSD, is averaging a double-double every game (15.4 points, 12 rebounds per game). The newcomer, who played for San Francisco State the last two years, leads the team in total points, rebounds, assists and steals. Her rising potential has provided less pressure on senior guard and offensive leader Miranda Seto, who has somewhat cooled down after an extremely hot start to the season. As for the rest of the starting lineup, the Tritons have a solid collection of experienced seniors such as forward McKennan Bertsch, center Dana Webster and guard Stephanie Yano. While the season is still young, UCSD is currently in a three-way tie for fourth in conference standings. But as a recent victory against last year’s CCAA champion Cal Poly Pomona indicates, the blue and gold appears ready to make the jump to the top of the league.

Men’s Volleyball
Current Record: N/A, Next Match: Jan. 10 AT Grand Canyon University
After finishing 4–23 overall for the 2014 season, UCSD opens the season with a brand-new core of players (no seniors and only six returning players). Head coach Kevin Ring, who enters his 10th season at the head of the team, can still count on starting junior middle blocker Mathew Schnitzer, who led the team during the previous campaign with a 0.312 hitting percentage and also finished second in blocks and fourth in kills. Primary junior libero Tanner Howard is expected to contribute after leading the team with 2.05 digs per set and a 0.959 reception rate last season. Schnitzer, redshirt freshman setter Jose Carlos Martinez and Howard will all begin the year as first-time captains for UCSD. To say the least, 2015 will be a season of transition for the men’s volleyball program, whose record will continue suffering as the Tritons’ primary focus will be integrating the 13 newcomers to be more competitive in future seasons. Preseason polls project a last-place finish for the Tritons in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, a predictable outcome for a team that simply cannot keep up with its top-tier Division-I counterparts throughout the season.

Swimming/Diving
Current Record: Men are 4–3, women are 5–3, Next Match: Jan. 10 AT LMU/CSUB
Despite the departure of a talented class of seniors, including national champions Nick Korth and Anji Shakya, both swim and dive teams are nevertheless expected to meet their objective in maintaining their respected status from previous seasons. With a handful of meets behind them, the men’s team is currently ranked No. 7 nationally, while the women sit comfortably as the No. 3 squad. With new and rising talent, UCSD will dominate its conference opponents this season. Veterans such as seven-time All-American junior Colleen Daley, among others, will lead a women’s team full of other young talent, such as promising freshman Stephanie Sin. The men’s team is in no shortage of star power either, led by senior captain Jack Galvan and junior Paul Li, who are enjoying strong seasons thus far. Sophomore Chandler Pourvahidi has also emerged as a top performer on the 200-meter and 400-meter breaststroke. While UCSD has no unanimous stars in Korth and Shakya, both teams contain a capable group expected to win their conference crown and enter the NCAA championships with high expectations.

Women’s Water Polo
Current Record: N/A, Next Match: Jan. 24 AT Arizona State University
With the departure of former senior utility Sarah Lizotte, the Tritons have a tough task ahead of them in their 2015 campaign. Lizotte was unequivocally their star player, breaking UCSD’s all-time scoring record last year en route to leading the Tritons into the NCAAs. As Lizotte exits, UCSD may struggle to fill her void. But head coach Brad Kreutzkamp has continuously held his squad to an elevated standard, consistently bringing his Division-II squad to a Division-I national tournament, and he undoubtedly will expect no different this year. The Tritons are fully capable of maintaining their superior status in their conference, though they may need to rely more on a collective effort to do so. Senior attacker Jolene Guiliana, the lone-starting senior, has incredible potential to improve upon the impressive all-around playmaking abilities showcased last year (73 goals, 51 assists, 46 steals). Aside from Guiliana, rising junior stars in two-meter player Alexis Wieseler and attacker Julia Kirkland, who both had breakout years in 2014, along with reliable junior goalkeeper Courtney Miller make for a promising group. Though they may struggle in the NCAAs, the Tritons can at least count on getting themselves there.

Baseball
Current Record: N/A, Next Game: Feb. 1 vs. Western Oregon
Triton baseball ranked a respectable No. 15 nationally in Collegiate Baseball’s 2015 NCAA Division-II preseason poll and will return on the Feb. 1 with a four-game series against Western Oregon University at home. The 2015 year hails postseason promise for the squad who gained a new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in J.T. Bloodworth and retained noted talents in all areas of play. Junior infielder and right-handed pitcher Troy Cruz and sophomore outfielder Brandon Shirley lead the offensive effort while standouts such as junior right-handed pitcher Justin Donatella and senior southpaw Trevor Scott anchor the mound. The Tritons also welcome redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Steven Garrett of Murrieta, redshirt first baseman Justin Flatt of Walnut Creek and redshirt catcher Steven Coe of Valley Center. Though the schedule offers challenge throughout, if last year’s play gives any indication, UCSD will step up in the clutch during the crucial stretches of its season. With the newly renovated Triton Ballpark scheduled to be ready for the 2015 campaign, the Tritons have much to be excited about as they look to make a run for the national championship.

Softball
Current Record: N/A, Next Game: Jan. 19 Exhibition VS. Concordia
Softball starts the regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at home against Azusa Pacific University and will enjoy a 12-game home stretch running until Feb. 16. The team welcomes seven freshmen total and is still assigning positions and order after losing standouts like catcher Caitlin Brown and outfielder Kirsten Willmon. The young age of the team, combined with the retention of established leaders such as junior left-handed pitcher Alexis Edwards, will afford the Tritons a new opportunity in shaping players and the program over the next few years while still competing for CCAA titles. In addition to the CCAA Championships at the end of the season, the Tritons will also try to make a run for nationals, starting with NCAA Regionals, during which they were ousted last season, starting on Friday, May 8. The Tritons are less experienced than previous years, but longtime head coach Patti Gerckens, who brought UCSD its first softball national title only four years ago, is sure to foster a competitive and capable 2015 group.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$15
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$15
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The UCSD Guardian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *