This Week’s Events:
Mon., Nov. 20---Men’s Basketball---UCSD at Grand Canyon---7:00 PM
Fri., Nov. 24---Men’s Basketball---UCSD at Las Vegas Thanksgiving Tournament---4:00 PM
Sat., Nov. 25---Men’s Basketball---UCSD at Las Vegas Thanksgiving Tournament---2:00 PM
FOURTH TIME THE CHARM AS TRITONS TOP LMU FOR WWPA TITLE
With an unprecedented 14th Western Water Polo Association championship now in its pocket, the next destination for the Men’s Water Polo team will be Los Angeles, where it will play in the NCAA Championships, Dec. 2-3...Coach Denny Harper’s Tritons, still ranked fifth nationally and sporting a school record 25 victories, will find out next week who their first round opponent will be at the Final Four...It will be UCSD’s 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament but first since 2002.
Last weekend at Pomona, UCSD opened the WWPA tournament with a 13-9 triumph over UC Santa Cruz as juniors A.J. Kotanjian and Nestor Dordoni registered three goals apiece...A day later, the Tritons scored on eight of 10 man-up opportunities while clobbering Santa Clara, 13-8, in the semi-finals...Senior Jesse Casellini netted four goals and Dordoni got three more as UCSD rolled up an 11-3 lead before the Broncos piled on some late goals to make it respectable.
An old nemesis, three-time defending WWPA champ Loyola Marymount, was waiting for UCSD in the Sunday’s final and it was a typical UCSD-LMU barnburner...Despite owning a three-goal lead midway through the final quarter, the Tritons needed Dordoni’s two-bar laser in the final minutes to claim their fourth one-goal win of the year over the Lions..
UCSD raced out to a 3-1 lead with Casellini assisting on the first two, tallied by Jerkovic and Kotanjian...The Tritons then went into a funk while LMU scored four unanswered goals, three in 6-on-5 situations...But then it was UCSD’s turn to fight back...A long range dart by Casellini narrowed the deficit to one goal and a lob a the tail end of a show-stopping spin move by Jerkovic knotted things at five...Junior Curtis Williamson went cross cage off the post to give UCSD a 6-5 lead but LMU quickly forged a 6-6 tie...The Tritons led, 7-6, after three quarters with senior Ty Lackey emerging from a thrashing throng in front of the net to backhand the go-ahead goal past LMU’s Ian Elliott.
UCSD came out with guns blazing in the final period...Casellini made it 8-6 when Elliott blocked his initial shot but the ball somehow trickled into the goal...On the next possession, goalie Jeremy Randall found Kotanjian on a breakaway and when he broke down Elliott to make it 9-6 with just over three minutes left, the outcome seemed secure...But like so many times before in this great rivalry, it wasn’t over until the final buzzer...The Lions rallied furiously, improbably deadlocking the score at nine with just over a minute remaining...That’s when Dordoni launched the game winner and after Jerkovic drew an ejection with 0:29 to go, it was finally time to celebrate...The unsung hero of the game was Randall, who made nine saves, almost all critical, and anchored a defense that was outstanding for all but a few brief stretches.
Following the victory, Casellini was named the WWPA’s Player of the Year and Harper earned Coach of the Year honors for the 15th time...Lackey joined Casellini on the All-WWPA first team with Kotanjian gaining second team status and Jerkovic honorable mention.
VOLLEYBALL LOSES IN NCAA D-II QUARTERFINAL
A fantastic season came to an end last Thursday in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals for Coach Tom Black’s Women’s Volleyball team, which lost to second-ranked Minnesota Duluth, 3-1 (32-30, 30-26, 28-30, 30-20)...Ranked fourth nationally coming into the match, the loss left the Tritons with a sterling 26-3 for the season.
UCSD’s quarterfinal hopes were badly damaged early when Minnesota Duluth came back from a 29-26 deficit to steal game one...A late game surge proved the Tritons’s undoing in game two as well, surrendering four of the final five points after trailing just 26-25...Black’s club staged a late comeback of its own to nab game three but Minnesota Duluth took control of game four at the midway point and never let UCSD back in.
Both teams hit at a fairly high level with the Bulldogs having a slight edge (.309-.283)...The Tritons had four players post double figures in the kills column...Junior Amber Ries had a career high 19 while hitting at a .484 clip, Brianna Koche knocked down 16 while Nicole Courtney and Rebecca Bailey turned in 13 and 12 respectively ...Senior setter Kristin Halvorsen recorded 58 assists and junior Natalie Facchini 12 digs...The most glaring numbers for the Tritons were in the serving department—a strength all season...UCSD was able to deliver just two aces while compiling 17 errors against Minnesota Duluth.
Earlier in the week, Black was named the Pacific Region Coach of the Year.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY SQUAD 16th AT NATIONALS
On an extremely fast course at the Escambia Equestrian Center in Pensacola (FL), the Women’s Cross Country team finished 16th at the NCAA Division II Championships Saturday...Junior Diane Dunn was the pacesetter for the Tritons, clocking 21.34.7 for the 6K race, good for 38th place...Dunn pressed out early, got in good position and barely missed gaining All-American honors (top 30 runners).
In the last race of her collegiate career, senior Nina Miller was second for UCSD and 59th overall (22:00.4)...Rounding out the scoring for the Tritons were much-improved Amanda Burkhardt (62nd/22:01.4), Ashleigh Montgomery (84th/22:33.7) and Catherine Strouse (126th/ 23:24.5)...Adams State (CO) captured the team title for the fourth consecutive year.
MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS OPENER; HITS ROAD FOR THREE
It will be a busy Thanksgiving week for the Men’s Basketball team which will test Division II competition for the first time with three road games...Today, the Tritons fly to Phoenix where they will hook up with former CCAA member Grand Canyon...Then it’s on to the Las Vegas Thanksgiving Tournament where they will take on Seattle Pacific and Montevallo (AL) over the weekend...Coach Bill Carr’s club is 0-1 after dropping its season opener at San Diego State.
In exhibition play Monday, UCSD led, 34-33, at halftime and opened an eight-point second half gap before falling, 74-69, at Division I crosstown foe USD...Senior Robby Peters led the Tritons with 17 points, canning five-of-six three-pointers in the first half...Sophomore Henry Patterson chalked up 14 points and 11 rebounds...Trailing by three in the closing seconds, the Tritons had the ball but a turnover doomed their final opportunity...Junior guard Andrew Hatch was sidelined with a broken foot.
Wednesday, sans Hatch and Patterson, who was injured in the USD contest, the Tritons were no match for defending Mountain West Conference champ San Diego State, dropping an 84-48 decision...UCSD shot just 29% and trailed, 41-14, at halftime... Freshman Jordan Lawley (18 ps.) and junior Clint Allard (10) were the only Tritons to reach double figures.
TRITONS RALLY TO TAKE WOMEN’S HOOPS OPENER
The 21st-ranked Women’s Basketball team opened its season with a hard-earned, 86-82, road victory at Northwest Nazarene...Down, 47-38, at intermission, the Tritons came out of the locker room and hit a scorching 65% of their shots in the second half...No one was hotter than senior guard Leora Juster...UCSD’s all-time leading scorer racked up a career high 37, hitting 10-of-18 from the floor and 16-of-18 from the free throw line...Fellow senior Hillary Hansen nearly matched her, knocking down 10-of-16 from the field en route to her career high, 24 points...She also pulled down a team high 11 boards...Alexis Gaskin, getting the first start of her career, responded with an 11-point, seven-rebound effort, both career highs...UCSD is now off until Dec. 1 when it opens the conference season against fifth-ranked Chico State at RIMAC Arena.
SPEEDO CUP PRODUCES EIGHT NEW NCAA QUALIFIERS FOR TRITONS
Although Head Coach Scott McGihon said he would give his charges only a “B” grade for their performance, the Swimming team emerged from last week’s three-day Speedo Cup in Long Beach with 749 points and a second place finish in the women’s division and 486 points, good for sixth on the men’s side...The Tritons also came away with eight new swimmers automatically qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships, giving them 17 total...For good measure, freshman Karla Holman set a school record in the 100 butterfly, her 57.46 besting the mark of 57.59 set by Sabrina Lum in 1993.
The Triton women, who finished behind only BYU and beat a slew of Division I teams, were led by sprinter Emily Harlan...The stellar senior won the 50 freestyle (23.75) and was third in the 100 (52.01)...She also anchored the victorious 200 freestyle relay (1:36.30) unit that included Aubrey Panis, Liz Whiteley and Katie Baier...Other noteworthy efforts were turned in by senior Susan Bell (4th/200 backstroke/2:05.39, 7th/100 backstroke/58.51 & 4th/200 IM/2:07.22), senior Andrea Lippin (4th/1,650 freestyle/17:27.43 & 6th/500 freestyle/5:06.62) and sophomore Panis who was a finalist in both the 200 backstroke and 50 freestyle...Holman was sixth in her record-breaking race.
Senior Tim Fuller and junior Evan Hsiao were the only Triton men to reach the final heat in individual events...Hsiao placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke (57.06) while Fuller continued to turn heads, finishing top eight in two races—50 freestyle (8th/20.77), 100 freestyle (7th/45.36)—and anchoring four top five relay teams...The five teams ahead of UCSD in the final standings—Stanford, BYU, Air Force, UC Irvine and USC—were all D-I institutions.
FENCERS SWAMP CONFERENCE FOES
Coach Heidi Runyan’s Fencing team continued to impress, going undefeated Sunday in both men’s and women’s action against three conference opponents...On the men’s side, the host Tritons throttled Cal Tech (21-6), Cal State Fullerton (18-9) and UC Irvine (23-4), with the quartet of juniors John Chung (foil), David Polakoski (epee) and Jason Runyan (sabre) and senior Jeremy Runyan (sabre) all logging 8-1 individual records on the day.
Meanwhile, behind the unblemished foil performances of junior Emily Lipoma (9-0) and sophomore Jen Chun (7-0), the Triton women whipped Cal Tech (22-5), Cal State Fullerton (23-4) and UC Irvine (27-0)...UCSD will now be idle until the winter season starts in mid-January.
For more information on Triton sports, check our website at http://ucsdtritons.com.