UCSD volleyball, soccer teams advance in playoffs


Sporting a regular season record of 28-2 and a No. 4 national ranking, the Women’s Volleyball team now heads to the eight-team NCAA Division II Pacific Regional in San Bernardino from which the winner will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight (Dec. 3-5).

Regional action starts Thursday and the second-seeded Tritons will face seventh-seeded San Francisco State (20-10)...UCSD and SFSU split their two matches this season with the Gators upsetting UCSD just 10 days ago in S.F. The prevailing team tackles either Sonoma State or Cal State L.A. Friday and the championship match is set for Saturday night.

The 28 wins are the most ever for UCSD under fifth-year Head Coach Tom Black. This will mark UCSD’s fourth consecutive NCAA appearance and 29th in the program’s 30-year history.

Friday night at RIMAC Arena, the Tritons handled No. 18 Sonoma State with relative ease, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-23) behind 23 kills from senior Sylvia Schmidt.

Sophomore Hillary Williamson put down 13 kills and UCSD hit .260 as a team (to .136 for SSU) with setter Elaine Chen handing out 48 assists.

The Tritons led wire-to-wire in the first two sets and used an 8-1 mid-game blitz to take command of the third before holding off a spirited run by the Seawolves in the late stages.

UCSD closed out the regular season with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-20) shellacking of Humboldt State (3-19) Saturday. The victory was the Tritons’ 24th straight at RIMAC Arena.

Chen dished out 42 assists and her three fellow seniors-Schmidt (16), Lauren Bradley (12) and Karen Reis (9) accounted for 37 of the Tritons’ 49 kills. With 12 digs and a pair of aces, Chen had a particularly stellar finale and sophomore libero Roxanne Brunsting registered 13 digs to go with a pair of aces.

Schmidt’s kill total gives her 447 on the year, pushing her past Bonnie Wilson as the school’s single season record holder.

Women’s soccer advances

Coach Brian McManus’s women’s soccer team, the youngest in his 23-year tenure at UCSD, will meet CCAA nemesis Cal State Dominguez Hills for the fourth time this season when the Tritons host the Toros in the NCAA Division II West Regional final, Friday at 7 p.m.

The winner of that clash advances to the NCAA Quarterfinal Sunday (also at UCSD) against the South Central Region champion, either West Texas A&M (15-2-3) or St. Edwards. That pair will meet at 4:30 PM at UCSD, preceding the UCSD-Dominguez Hills encounter.

UCSD will bring a record of 15-5-1 into Friday’s tilt while Cal State Dominguez is 15-8-1 after stunning CCAA champion and host Cal State L.A., 2-1, in second round play Sunday. The two teams split their two regular season match-ups (both winning on the road by 2-1 scores) and tied in the CCAA semi-finals with CSUDH advancing on penalty kicks.

Sophomore Sarah McTigue chose a good time to have the first multi-goal game of her career, scoring a pair in Saturday night’s, 2-1, NCAA second round win over Chico State.

The Tritons completely dominated the early going and had several solid chances but it was the Wildcats who drew first blood off a corner at 22:06...McTigue answered a minute and a half later — alone just outside the box, she took a feed from freshman Jessica Wi and sent a strike into the upper left corner to tie the score. The two teams were still deadlocked at the break and UCSD maintained control through most of the second half.

The Wildcats started to assert themselves late in the game but McTigue struck again with just 4:43 remaining in regulation. A corner by freshman Hayley Johnson resulted in a scramble in front of the net, the ball came to McTigue and she connected from close range. Sophomore keeper Kristin Armstrong made four saves for UCSD and the Tritons outshot the visitors, 17-10.

Water polo berth on line

Looking for its first conference title since 2006, Coach Denny Harper’s men’s water polo team heads to Chapman Friday for the opening round of the 2009 Western Water Polo Assn. (WWPA) Championships.

The team emerging unscathed from the eight-team tourney will move on to the NCAA Championships, Dec. 3-5, in Palo Alto. The third-seeded Tritons will battle sixth-seeded Redlands in round one at 11:45 AM. The winning team will take on the winner of the Air Force and Whittier Saturday at 3:15 PM. The tournament final is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 PM.

UCSD, ranked 11th nationally, enters the event with a 12-13 regular season mark and has history on its side, owning an unprecedented 14 WWPA crowns. Defending champion Loyola Marymount is the No. 1 seed.

Harper’s club, which started out with a bevy of new faces, has clearly improved its deth as the season has progressed, but it will still be led by the fifth-year senior triumvirate of Steve Donohoe (57 goals), Peter Gresham (28) and Sean Roberts (25). Donohoe has scored 176 times in his UCSD career, eighth best in UCSD history.

Other key players for UCSD include rapidly progressing juniors Bryce Madsen (33 goals) and Ryan Allred (28) and sophomore goalie David Morton (267 saves)...In exhibition tune-ups Saturday at Canyonview Pool, UCSD topped Sunset San Diego, 13-8, and the San Francisco Olympic Club, 8-7.

Basketball team in tourney

After opening the regular season with a 77-52 loss against crosstown Division I rival San Diego State, Coach Chris Carlson’s Men’s Basketball team will step back into the D-II ranks when it travels to Pueblo, CO for this weekend’s Al Kaly Classic...The Tritons will hook up with Mesa State in Friday’s opener and come back against host Colorado State-Pueblo the next night.

Saturday afternoon at San Diego State, the youthful Tritons found themselves at a serious disadvantage in the size and quickness departments and that, coupled with 6-for-30 shooting from behind the arc did them in. Despite its underdog status, UCSD held tough with the Aztecs through the first 20 minutes and could easily have been leading rather than three points down (31-28) at the break.

Senior Tyler Acevedo paced the Tritons with 14 points but junior Casey Ryan had perhaps the best all-around outing, scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting while also grabbing a team high eight boards and handing out four assists. UCSD turned the ball over 14 times but earned 20 takeaways from SDSU. Carlson used 14 players with nine getting 15 minutes or more of action.