Winless in Conference Play

    Photo by Megan Lee
    Photo by Megan Lee

    UCSD is shutout by No.1 Hawaii in their first game, before taking a set to their opponent in the second game.

    Photo by Megan Lee
    Photo by Megan Lee

    This week, the UCSD men’s volleyball team faced a tough matchup on Friday and Saturday, taking on No. 1 University of Hawaii in a two-match series at RIMAC arena. The better-ranked team ultimately proved too good as it beat the Tritons 3–0 (25–10, 25–19, 25–14) on a fairly one-sided Friday night, and 3–1 (23–25, 25–19, 25–10, 25–18) in a more contested game on Saturday.

    Hawaii dominated from the outset of the first match as it took the first two points in the opening of the game and carried on to grab an early 11–5 advantage. This dominance continued throughout the first set as UCSD could only manage to pick up five more points and the visitors took the first set 25–10.

    UCSD showed more promise in the second set as it was able to keep up with the higher- ranked side to level at 7–7 early on. A combination of three service errors and two attacking errors from the home side helped the Rainbow Warriors gain an advantage and the visitors began to pull away at 12–9. Despite a four-point flurry for the Tritons toward the end of the game, featuring two kills from redshirt freshman opposite Tanner Syftestad, Hawaii was again too strong and took the second with a 25–19 score.

    In the third set, UCSD came out in an impressive manner, managing to take an 8–5 lead. However, three kills in a row for the visitors brought the teams level at 8–8 and Hawaii began to pull away again after this. The blue and gold were outplayed, taking just six points in the rest of the set, and a kill from redshirt freshman outside hitter Scott Hartley sealed a 25–14 set win for Hawaii and an overall 3–0 victory.

    On Saturday, the Tritons came out looking to redeem themselves as they managed to take the first set. Two service games carried out by Syftestad forced two attacking errors from the Rainbow Warriors, giving UCSD a 5–3 advantage. UCSD, with an 18–16 lead, looked to finish the game off with three consecutive kills from sophomore outside hitter Ian Colbert, freshman middle blocker Alec Flowers and junior middle blocker Mathew Schnitzer, taking its lead to 24–20. Despite a late Hawaii comeback, UCSD took the set thanks to an attacking error, leaving the final score at 25–23.

    The second game saw Hawaii come out with intent, making two blocks in a row to take a 2–0 lead. UCSD managed to pull back and bring the scores level at 8–8 in a period of play again featuring kills from Colbert, Flowers and Schnitzer. After this, however, the Tritons lost a point to a kill by junior outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic and made three attacking errors in a row to fall behind 12–8, an insurmountable deficit. They ended up losing the set 25–19.

    In the third set, the Rainbow Warriors played up to their ranking, completing a .846 without making any attacking errors. UCSD was unable to rack up points and lost the set 25–10.

    In the fourth and final set, UCSD’s mistakes again punished the team as three errors in a row gave Hawaii a 4–2 advantage. The Tritons fought back, however, and leveled the set twice at 6–6 and 11–11. However, the number one side ultimately proved too strong, taking the set 25–18 and with it the match by a score of 3–1.

    “We left it all on the court and that’s something we talked about before the matches — our team roles and a no-fear mentality, and leave it on the court and I think we did that,” UCSD head coach Kevin Ring told the Athletics Department. “I think we can be proud of our finish.”

    The losses take UCSD’s tally to 2–21 overall and 0–17 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Tritons return to play at RIMAC again this weekend, hosting Cal State Northridge on Friday and Cal State Long Beach on Saturday.

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