Photo by: Ken Grosse/UCSD Athletics
Danielle Dahle (left) and Sophie Rowe combined for over 660 kills in 2012.
Tritons Open Against Stacked Field at Coyote Classic
Release: Thursday 09/05/2013 

Match 1
No. 24 Central Washington (0-0)
Friday, Sept. 6 • 12 p.m.
The Den • San Bernardino
Live Stats

Match 2
No. 13 Regis (0-0)
Friday, Sept. 6 • 5 p.m.
Coussoulis Arena • San Bernardino

Match 3
Harding (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7 • 12 p.m.
Coussoulis Arena • San Bernardino

Match 4
Seattle Pacific (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7 • 7:30 p.m.
The Den • San Bernardino
Live Stats

The 22nd-ranked Tritons get their 2013 campaign rolling alongside a stacked field at the 10-team Coyote Classic, hosted by Cal State San Bernardino. Four of the squads are ranked among the top 25 in the AVCA national poll, including Regis (13), Cal State San Bernardino (14), UCSD (22) and Central Washington (24). Harding and Sonoma State are receiving votes in the poll. Also in this week's tourney field are Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State L.A., Fort Lewis and Seattle Pacific. Two venues will be in use for the tournament - Coussoulis Arena and The Den. UCSD's matches against Regis and Harding will take place at Coussoulis, while The Den will be the site of the Tritons' contests with Central Washington and Seattle Pacific. Day passes are $10 and are available on site. For a schedule of all Coyote Classic matches, click here. Matches at The Den will be covered by live stats at the links above.

UCSD returns all but one player from last year's squad that went to the NCAA postseason for the seventh consecutive time. Back on the floor will be five full-time starters from 2012, including OH Danielle Dahle (La Mesa/Grossmont HS), MB Lauren Demos, S Amber Hawthorne, MB Sara McCutchan and OH Sophie Rowe, as well as primary libero Brittany Lombardi. Returners from the 2012 part-time starters list include OH Lizzy Andrews, MB Kameron Cooper and OPP Rachelle Kinney. The lone loss is OPP Sheridan Taylor, who decided not to play this year after getting the starting nod 13 times in 2012. For a complete roster and player bios, click here.

Three newbies to the Triton Family will be suiting up this season - OH Makensie Bates, OPP Caitlin Brenton and OH Stephanie Solich. Bates and Solich are true freshman, while Brenton is a junior transfer from Columbia University. All three are California natives.

UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties is in his fourth season leading the Tritons. Over his first three campaigns in La Jolla, he registered a 61-26 overall record, good for a .701 win percentage. In CCAA play, Luyties has paced UCSD to a 47-19 (.712) mark. Prior to coming to UCSD, Luyties spent six seasons as the head coach at Southern Mississippi. A two-time All-American setter and Hall of Fame member at UCLA, he helped the Bruins win four consecutive national titles between 1981 and 1984. UCLA posted an amazing 126-7 record, which included a pair of undefeated seasons, during Luyties' career. A two-time NCAA Most Valuable Player, his No. 11 UCLA jersey was retired in 1996. A member of the U.S. National Team from 1981-88, Luyties won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. On the beach, Luyties competed regularly on the AVP Tour and FIVB World Tour for 12 years, partnering with the likes of Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson.

UCSD was picked to finish second in the 2013 CCAA standings by the league's coaches. Topping the poll was seven-time defending champion Cal State San Bernardino. Following the Tritons, in order, were Sonoma State, Cal State L.A., Chico State, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, San Francisco State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Stanislaus and Humboldt State.

Danielle Dahle: AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year; Daktronics All-West Region Second Team; AVCA All-West Region Honorable Mention; All-CCAA First Team
Amber Hawthorne: All-CCAA Second Team
Sara McCutchan: Daktronics All-West Region Second Team; AVCA All-West Region Honorable Mention; All-CCAA Second Team
Sophie Rowe: All-CCAA Second Team

Amber Hawthorne's 1,605 career assists rank sixth in UCSD history. She needs just 70 more to take over fifth place. Danielle Dahle set a program single season mark in 2012 with her 1,257 attack attempts. Her 416 kills rank fifth. Three other Tritons posted top 10 single season numbers in 2012, including Brittany Lombardi (431 digs, sixth), Sara McCutchan (119 blocks, seventh) and Hawthorne (1,078 assists, ninth). Lombardi set a new UCSD single match record with 42 digs at Cal State Monterey Bay on Nov. 17.

No. 24 Central Washington (Ellensburg, Wash.) finished its 2012 season with a 21-8 overall record and tied for second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with a 14-4 mark. The Wildcats earned the sixth seed for the NCAA West Regional at BYU-Hawaii, where they were defeated in the opening round by Cal State San Bernardino in five sets. Middle blocker Erin Smith, a senior in 2013, was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team. CWU returns seven starters and was picked to finish second in the GNAC's preseason coaches poll.

No. 13 Regis (Denver, Colo.) went 26-9 overall and 16-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in 2012. The Rangers won the RMAC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA South Central Regional, where they defeated Metro State and lost against Angelo State. Regis returns six starters, including All-RMAC First Team selection Caitie Breaux, a sophomore outside hitter.

Harding (Searcy, Ark.) returns 10 letterwinners, including five starters, from last season's team that finished 28-6 overall and 14-0 in the Great American Conference (GAC). The Lady Bisons won the GAC regular season and tournament titles. Five players were named All-GAC and Mollie Arnold, a senior outside hitter in 2013, earned AVCA All-America Honorable Mention accolades.

Seattle Pacific is coming off a 2012 season in which it went 14-13 overall and 11-7 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Falcons return four starters, their primary libero and 10 total letterwinners. However, they lost two All-GNAC First Team picks - setter Shelby Swanson and outside hitter Cailin Fellows. Senior middle blocker Nikki Lowell was an All-GNAC Honorable Mention selection in 2012. SPU was picked fifth in the GNAC's preseason coaches poll.

The Tritons are 3-1 all-time against Central Washington, 1-1 versus Regis and 7-1 when squaring off against Seattle Pacific. UCSD and Harding have never met.

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Looking ahead to next week, the Tritons play in their second and final regular season tourney as they host the UCSD Invitational Sept. 13-14 at RIMAC Arena. Also among the field in La Jolla will be Alaska Anchorage, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State San Bernardino, Fresno Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene. Friday, UCSD takes on Cal Baptist (2:30 p.m.) and Point Loma (7:30 p.m.). Saturday, Fresno Pacific (2:30 p.m.) and Alaska Anchorage (7:30 p.m.) are on the slate for the Tritons. For a complete schedule of matches, click here


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