Volleyball Splits Opener

Guardian Staff

Tritons fall to Concordia, take comeback win versus GCU.

The UCSD men’s volleyball team began its season this week with mixed results. While the Triton men fell short against Concordia University Irvine in a 3–1 loss on Wednesday, they managed to bounce back with a triumphant 3–2 victory against Grand Canyon University on Saturday. The two-game road stand puts UCSD at a 1–1 record to kick off the 2015 campaign. 

UCSD travelled to the Concordia University Arena on Wednesday night for the first-ever meeting between the Tritons and the Eagles. Unfortunately, UCSD came off second best, losing in four sets with final scores of 25–17, 25–14, 24–26 and 25–19.

UCSD started the stronger of the two teams, picking up the first two points but were soon overturned by the Eagles. After gaining five of six points after a 9–9 deadlock, the home side gained momentum and pushed on to take the first set. The Eagles managed to take the second set in a similar style, defeating the Tritons by 11 points. 

The third set was a much more even contest with both teams matching each other point-for-point. With the score tied at 24–24, a kill from freshman outside hitter Calvin Manchenko and an ace from junior middle blocker Mathew Schnitzer helped UCSD prevail and pull a set back.

In the fourth set, both teams struggled to pull away from each other. The set featured five tied scores before Concordia managed to take the win after four successive points, making the final tally 25–19.

Despite the loss, UCSD head coach Kevin Ring remained positive about the performance. 

“Something we did really well was never quit,” Ring said. “We were pretty relentless, and that’s going to be a key for us going forward. That’s got to be there night in, night out.”

On Saturday, the Tritons traveled to Grand Canyon University where they came back from a two-set deficit to beat their hosts 3–2 at Antelope Gymnasium. The match finished with scores of 18–25, 20–25, 25–23, 25–22 and 15–10.

The Antelopes came out strong in the early portions of the match, taking the first set and outblocking UCSD 6–0. Grand Canyon University continued its dominance by taking the second set with relative ease.

In the third set, the Tritons began their comeback with huge help from sophomore middle blocker Shayne Beamer and freshman opposite hitter and setter Tanner Syftestad, who both made several kills in the third set and finished the game with career highs of 14 apiece. Both teams remained neck-and-neck late into the set, with the scores tied at 22–22. However, a kill and an assist from Syftestad brought UCSD to set point, and a kill from Schnitzer claimed the set 25–23.

The momentum was clearly in favor of UCSD for the rest of the game as it began the fourth set with its first triple block of 2015 from sophomore outside hitter Ian Colbert, Schnitzer and redshirt freshman setter Jose Carlos Martinez. Although the Antelopes battled to get within touching distance at set point, freshman outside hitter Luke Lamont served an ace to take the set 25–22 for UCSD and bring the match to a deciding fifth set.

UCSD sealed the comeback victory in the final set off of several Grand Canyon errors. The Tritons started to pull away when they went up 5–2 thanks to successive kills from Syftestad and eventually built up a 12–7 advantage. Two more kills at the end of the set from Syftestad secured the impressive win for the Tritons.

“It shows a great deal of maturity with a very young team to be able to come back and win in five after losing the first two sets,” Ring said. “It’s always nice to [win number] one. Now we’ve got to go and [win number] two.”

The Tritons will be looking for that next win on Wednesday, Jan. 14, as they travel on the road again to face Cal State Long Beach. With first serve set up for 7 p.m. UCSD will remain on the road again to take on Cal State Northridge on Friday, Jan. 16, also at 7 p.m.