The UC San Diego men’s volleyball team, with five wins under its belt already this season, heads to Northern California this weekend, intent on adding to the that total. Part of the success has been the senior leadership of setter Brooks Dierdorff. The Tritons, often starting four freshmen, have relied heavily on their all-time assists leader while picking up wins over ranked teams such as USC and Long Beach State. Dierdorff recently took time to discuss the season and life on the men’s volleyball team.
Q- You have been a part of several Triton squad’s that have pulled off some upsets. Which do you remember and why do they stand out to you?
DIERDORFF- My freshman year when we beat UC Santa Barbara for the first time in our program’s history, and then this year's two wins have been a few of the best I have experienced in my career. One of the most memorable matches I played in, we actually lost. In the last match of my sophomore year we played #1 UCLA and barely lost, 16-14, in the fifth game after winning only one MPSF match the whole year. Even though we lost, it still was one of the best matches I have ever been a part of.
Q- You spent the fall quarter overseas. What was that like? Did you play any volleyball?
DIERDORFF- This fall I was hanging out for a while in Florence, Italy making art and philosophizing with foreign intellectuals in European cafes. I played a good amount of volleyball with a semi-pro team in Florence. I made sure I kept it legal and didn’t accept any gifts that the NCAA could find out about. In all seriousness, I was lucky enough to study at one of the best studio art schools in Florence and had some amazing experiences traveling in Europe.
Q- When you arrived at UCSD as a freshman, did you imagine that you would become the school’s all-time assists leader?
DIERDORFF- It never crossed my mind to be honest. I just was hoping to see the court. It is nice to have that title though. I don’t feel like I can take full credit for that record as all my assists have depended on my hitters, so I feel like the record is also a reflection on the talent of the hitters I’ve had over the years.
Q- For most of the 2007 season to-date, you have been on the court with at least four freshmen. How has your role varied from last season, when there were several senior starters.
DIERDORFF- It has been easier for me this year to assume a leadership role as I have had a great deal more court experience. I have tried to relate my own past experiences to the freshman so that they know what to expect and how to deal with certain situations.
Q- With the success of this year’s class, what do you see in the next year or two, as far as wins and the MPSF and UCSD?
DIERDORFF- I have no doubt that this group of freshman will become one of the best UCSD volleyball teams in the program’s history. They have a lot of talent and it is very rare for that many freshman to have so much court experience so early in their careers. It will be interesting to see how well they do in the years to come.
Q- What do you like about the games of the freshmen, including Jason Spangler, Will Ehrman, Frank Fritsch and Adrian Guthals?
DIERDORFF- The best part about every single one of these guys is that I know I can trust them to give all of their effort on every single play. There is not much more I can ask of them.
Q- You have had several road trips as a member of the UCSD volleyball team in your career. Which trips have been your favorites?
DIERDORFF- I have to say that my favorite was an unofficial team road trip to Tijuana last year where we saw the US national team play Cuba in a shady gym on the outskirts of the city. We were basically the only Americans there and we did our best to heckle the Cuban team in Spanish. The trips to Hawaii every other year are not bad either.
Q – Did you get a chance to do any sightseeing on your trip to the Hall of Fame Classic?
DIERDORFF- The team and I were able to go to the Volleyball Hall of Fame while we were there. It was fun to see, but did not take very long as the entire Hall of Fame is housed in one small room.