The Tritons hit the ground slamming over the first weekend of winter quarter by heading up to the city of Las Vegas to compete against the Mountain West Volleyball Conference. In this tournament, the Tritons were able to compete against teams that they generally only see at Nationals, aside from Air Force, who appears at the Davis Far Westerns and Las Vegas Classic each year.
The first day commenced with pool play at 5 PM on Friday, and did not come to a close until nearly midnight. In that pool, the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego crushed each opponent that they faced without much difficulty, including Utah Valley who continuously qualifies and competes in D1 during Nationals. Luckily for the Tritons, the second day of play did not start until 1 PM, allowing a full-night’s sleep. The first round of playoffs pitted UC Slam Diego against UNLV. The Rebels put up a good fight, but the match ended in the Tritons’ favor, propelling them into the semifinals. In this match, the Tritons faced Rick’s College, an extension of BYU located in Idaho who had been stomping all of their opponents throughout the tournament. Despite this, UC Slam Diego brutally beat them in the first game, and then started way down in the second game, only to make a 15-2 run and beat them in 2 games. In the finals, UC Slam Diego faced Air Force and unfortunately played their worst match of the tournament (great timing gentlemen) handing them their only game and match loss of the weekend.
Next, the Tritons host their first League Tournament on Saturday, February 4th in RIMAC AUX Gym.
Over the weekend of the twelfth and thirteenth of November, the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego fielded two teams for the annual SDSU Pre-Season Tournament. The squad that travelled to UCLA along with a couple of people that couldn’t make it comprised of one team, with the remainder of players making the other. For purposes of the tournament, they were the A and the B team, however at this point those boundaries have not been officially set for our team.
The B team was comprised of 9 dashing volleyball players, 3 of which were returners, all of which were stoked to play some volleyball. Unfortunately for this fresh squad (fresh because for many of them it was their first tournament (but also because they looked fresh)), they were matched up against some veteran teams. On the first day, the gentleman faced the runner-up of the UCLA tournament, ASU as well as Long Beach and USD. The second day, the Tritons tragically lost in the first round to UNLV. Despite taking a lot of Ls, the squad kept their heads high. With each passing game, they had improved and grown as players. They knew that this was just the beginning of a long journey to greatness.
The A team consisted of 12, mostly handsome, others brutally handsome, athletes with an insatiable appetite for volleyball. Only 5 of these players were returners. On the first day, this band of merry men went up against SDSU-B, SDCC, and Arizona-B. All fell before the might of the Tritons in two sets. A perfect day for UC Slam Diego A.
The second day began with a crossover match for the A team against the Extecs. This team was comprised of some current SDSU athletes that used to play for the club team, an alumni of the university, and then some random players including a grown man that attended my high school a few years ahead of me (I am old). Unfortunately, the Tritons fell in three games, receiving a low seed for the gold bracket that was to follow. This pitted the Slam Diegans against CSU Fullerton, a very friendly team that we always enjoy playing. Despite our fondness of the Titans, we held nothing back in our match against them and won handily in two games. With this victory, the Tritons advanced to the quarterfinals as the lowest-seeded team in the bracket, matched up with the highest-seeded team, OCC. A long and grueling match ensured, resulting in the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego’s defeat in three games.
Although the overall record for the A team was 4-2, the A team was undefeated against club teams and OCC went on to win the tournament. Following similar logic that was used for the UCLA tournament, we only got knocked out of contention for first by the team that got first, so basically we got second. Thusly, UC Slam Diego went undefeated and is sitting as the number one team to beat in the club volleyball sphere.
The gentlemen of UC Slam Diego woke up not-so-bright-eyed but possibly bushy-tailed on the morning of Saturday October 29th to travel up to UCLA in order to play in their first pre-season tournament. The competition was fierce, not only because of the high-level teams that were there, but because of how these high-level teams were poorly seeded, to no fault of the tournament director because how could he have known this early in the year?
The Halloweekend Curse took hold early on for the Tritons when Mahdi “No-Show” Younis virtually fell off of the face of the earth, not appearing at the gym nor answering any of the many phone calls and texts from concerned teammates. With only one middle, the infamous Cameron “Camboomsi” Kavoosi, the scientific minds of UC Slam Diego went to work and devised an experiment for their first match against USC. Like most experiments, it was a complete failure and the Tritons lost the first match.
Their second match was against University of Arizona’s B Team, not to be mistaken for their A Team, which is equally as tall, so it is quite confusing. This next experimental match forced Afi “Baa Baa” Blackshear into the middle position and proved to be a success! The Tritons snatched the third game away from Arizona 15-5, much like how the first kid to find a “Please Take One” bowl on Halloween takes all of the candy, expect we took the bowl too.
In the final match of pool play, University of the Pacific squared up against the Tritons. They proved to also be formidable opponents, but after a couple of tweaks the Slam Diegans closed out the match with a win. The gentleman of that match was definitely Joseph “Thanks HUM” Guarnes due to his mythical defense. Unfortunately, this put the Tritons on the losing end of a three-way tie, causing them to have to play a crossover match to make it into the gold bracket for the next day.
The Halloweekend Curse struck again when the Tritons were pitted against the A Team for University of Arizona, who somehow also took third in their pool that day. Unfortunately, the Tritons came up short, losing both games by fewer than 5 points, plunging them into silver bracket the next day. But let’s be real, if there are only two brackets, calling the lower one silver is the equivalent of being given a participation trophy.
The final act of the Halloweekend Curse was the following morning when Ryan “Saved by Scientology” Schickling came down with the worst stomach bug of his life and yet still showed up to support the team! Down another starting player, a new day of experimentation had begun.
In the quarterfinals, Chris “Swiss Army Knife” Griebenow gave Afi “A Fire Inside” Blackshear and Joseph “Please Let Me Rest” Guarnes a break by playing 6-rotation middle, with Cameron “He Can Pass?” Kavoosi following suit in game 2. The Slam Diegans stayed classy while crushing Pomona’s will to play volleyball and moved onto the semifinals to play against Boston College.
It was in this match that the Tritons set forth a lineup that included each and every player on their team. Cameron and Afi were in the middle (sorry Afi). Failed Paratrooper Tiny Tim Green and Paratrooper Chris “Sorority Mom” Shaffer were the opposites in the front row for setters Jon “Long Hair, Don’t Know if I Care” Maroun and Kyle “Pass It Tight” Smiley. Joe and Nic “Body Control” Maroun played libero. And slamming as the #GetRecd bandana-wearing outsides were CJ “Selfish Dancer” Norsigian and Chris “Skeleton Key” Griebenow. This star-studded lineup appeared again in the finals against UC Davis, resulting in the Tritons winning the (loser’s) bracket and finishing with an overall record of 5-2, but undefeated when matches go to a third game. So if you ignore the details, we won and were undefeated. It’s going to be a great season.
UC Slam Diego spent President’s Day Weekend and Valentine’s Day up in UC Davis for the annual Far Westerns Invitational. This was the biggest tournament yet for the season, with bids to Nationals up for grabs for the top four teams. Placed fourth overall out of the 27 teams that participated, UC Slam Diego simply had to hold their seed to gain a bid. But it was not that simple. This entailed the 4-4 team winning their first seven matches, reaching the semifinals without dropping a single match. And that’s exactly what they did.
On the Friday before the tournament weekend, the gentlemen made their trek up to the inhospitable wasteland that is Northern California. Apparently up there they suffer a meteorological calamity referred to as “seasons.” Sometimes bravery is confused with stupidity, especially in this case, when six of the gentlemen decided to “brave” the trip by driving instead of flying. The smartest four players on the team, Chris “Griebs” Griebenow, Jordan “Suh Dude” King, Mahdi “Definitely 21” Younis, and Jeffery “Old Greeeeeeeg” Meng, as well as the dark wizard-coach Trombledore, relaxed in style by flying into Oakland and staying with their Valentines, the Keller family.
The Keller family deserves their own paragraph, smack dab in the middle of this article, and you’re not allowed to simply skip over it to get to more about the volleyball tournament, so deal with it. First of all, the biggest of possible thanks to the always-lovely culinary goddess, Cheryl Keller. Words cannot describe how much she did for the lucky players that got to stay at her amazing home, which makes writing about it tricky. After playing eight matches over the course of two days, I believe that I gained weight since I was fed so well. The first night, there was lasagna, salad, and garlic bread waiting for us when we arrived after 9:00 PM. We were served three huge tri tips, potatoes, rice, and salad the following night. And then, after they drove an hour to come watch us play in the playoffs on Sunday, made the remaining few that hadn’t left to drive home a delicious dinner of enchiladas, rice, and beans with chips, salsa, and guacamole. But dinner wasn’t all that was served. We had to be on the road before 6:00 AM each morning, but that didn’t stop Cheryl and her husband Kris and sometimes her daughter Melissa from having breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches and coffee prepared for us before we even woke up a little after 5:00 AM. I’m sure you’re thinking, “But Griebs, what about lunch? Were you and your team just left to your own devices for fueling up between matches?” First of all, how did you know I was the author of this? And second of all, hell no! The Kellers packed cold cuts for us the first day and then a gigantic Chinese chicken salad the second day, along with plenty of chips, waters, and bananas for both days. Honorable mentions from the Keller family go out to Kris Keller who helped Cheryl tremendously and drove us to the airport, Erica Keller who wasn’t there but allowed us to use her Prius (it was a black Prius, the manliest of the Prii), and I guess Melissa Keller helped too, but she just flew up for the weekend so that she could get help with her taxes and make sure no icky boys slept in her bed.
Now back to the volleyball! On the first day, UC Slam Diego came out strong against UNR in their first match, completely crushing the spirit of UNR, and making friends with the ref along the way. Their second match was against Cal, where the Tritons slammed so hard that the Cal coach talked to his team for over an hour after their defeat. Next up was Hartnell, the fifth seed in the pool, and basically a warm-up match before playing the second seed, Santa Clara, right afterwards. Or so the Tritons thought! Hartnell came out strong with a brand of incredibly weird volleyball that dug UC Slam Diego into a deep hole in the first set, throwing our bench and coach into a fit of laughter as they watched us struggle to barely lose 27-25 in the first set. But that’s why a volleyball match is a best-of-three series. After some harsh truths thrown out to each player by Captain Griebs, and then reciprocated by each player to Captain Griebs, the Tritons humbled themselves and refocused, winning in three. The final match of the day against Santa Clara was to decide the winner of the pool, and was long, grueling, and literally bloody. Slam Diego stayed classy in the faces of Santa Clara, who were talking so much trash through the net that they should have been charged with littering. The gentlemen did not partake in the pissing match that Santa Clara was attempting to start, and instead chose to win the match, smiling all the way. This couldn’t have been done without the relief of Nic “Dancing Queen” Maroun, coming in for Chris “Unquenchable Thirst” Shaffer who loses more water from playing than he can possibly drink. No wonder he’s always so thirsty.
The second day, the Tritons were the first seed in a power pool with San Jose State and the genetically engineered protectors of the sky, Air Force. First, UC Slam Diego handled San Jose State with grace, and were then off for three whole hours before playing the reigning champions of being gorgeous, Air Force. But actually, girls’ teams from throughout the convention center at Nationals flocked around their court for every match. Even some guys’ teams. Aside from being really, really, ridiculously good-looking, they can also fly without the aid from aircrafts and spend all of their time in the academy honing their bodies and minds to serve our country, meaning that a volleyball has no chance when they go for the kill. In spite of the team of super humans that stood before UC Slam Diego, they weren’t even phased since they realized that all of their gorgeous players were gone, leaving the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego the crown of being the most attractive team in the gym, and possibly the nation. The Tritons handled them easily in two games, with the Captains and Presidents, Jordan “Suh Dude” King and Chris “Griebs” Griebenow bouncing the butter from Jon “Trash Cans Are His Kryptonite” Maroun harder than the genetically enhanced pseudo-Captain Americas.
This put the Tritons straight into the quarter finals, facing Sacramento State. With the support of their new family, the Kellers, the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego destroyed Sac State in two games. At one point, and I can’t speak highly enough about this guy, Captain Griebs served 9 points straight, many of which were aces, causing Sac State to burn through both of their timeouts.
With their bid to Nationals in their pocket, UC Slam Diego faced off against the number one ranked team in the tournament, Cal Poly SLO. Exhausted from the past two days of play, the Tritons battled against SLO, barely losing the first set 23-25 and then the second 22-25 after being down 9-19. Despite the loss, the Tritons are proud of their 7-1 performance, especially since the only team that they lost to won the tournament.
They are looking forward to their crossover tournament against UCLA, USC, UCSB, ASU, and CSULB coming up on March 5th in RIMAC Arena.
On January 30th, the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego hosted the second Division 1 South SCCVL Regional tournament. The weekend prior, University of Arizona took first, San Diego State took second, UC San Diego took third, Chapman took fourth, and CSU Fullerton secured fifth.
The Tritons kept it consistent by claiming third place once again, but the highlight of the tournament was their victory over the Wildcats at University of Arizona. University of Arizona was sour with the Tritons because it was clearly our fault that they were twenty minutes late to their reffing assignment at 9:00 AM, so they were fired up to stomp us into the lovely hardwood floors of RIMAC’s AUX Gym. Little did they realize that we were not the same team that they had beaten the weekend before and we came out with a better game plan and bigger biceps.
The Tritons slammed on them, beating them decisively in two games, even though we love third games. And then out of all of the flavors in the world, University of Arizona chose to be salty and allegedly left with three of our precious, precious volleyballs.
Up next for the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego is the Far Western Invitational over Valentine’s Day weekend in UC Davis. The Aggies are lucky to have us as their valentine.
UC San Diego Men’s Club Volleyball team had their first league matches of the season this past weekend with round robin play at CSU Fullerton. The gentlemen of UC Slam Diego started their season off on the right foot, for once, by defeating the newest addition to the Division 1 Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League, Chapman University, with every player getting a chance to slam. This was all possible due to our coach, Kevin ‘Trombz’ Trombley, enacting a rotation technique which he calls “Bone-Head Volleyball.” This means that whenever a player makes a bone-headed play, he subs himself out for the next person in line.
The first sub occurred very early in the first game when President and Captain, Chris ‘Griebs’ Griebenow, attempted to attack a ball which he had little-to-no business swinging at, resulting in the ball sailing way, way out of bounds. Some say the ball is still in the air to this day. He was replaced by freshman Chris ‘Shaft’ Shaffer, who managed to play it smart and safe to stay on the court, much to the chagrin of President Griebs. Shortly after, ‘BD’ Nic Maroun made the silly mistake of missing his serve, giving David ‘Where’s Jerry?’ Rodriguez a chance to steal the spotlight. After two small mistakes, third time was the charm for David when he made a play in true bone-head fashion allowing Richard ‘404 Name Not Found’ Zheng to finish out the game. President and Captain Jordan ‘BBB’ King hit a ball slightly long during the first game, giving Mahdi ‘Maughty’ Younis the opportunity to slam in his place. Early in the second game, President Griebs was subbed back in after Richard made an unforced error, and he didn’t come off the court for the rest of the day. Late in the third game, on UC Slam Diego’s match point, Senior libero Joe ‘Sleepy’ Guarnes watched a ball drop in front of him that shouldn’t have dropped uncontested in his lifetime, granting Tim ‘Pledge’ Green the honor of being on the court when Chapman missed their serve, handing us the win. With no one to sub in for them, setter Jon ‘Nic?’ Maroun and middles Jeff ‘Somehow Always a Starter’ Meng and Connor ‘Brother Barry’ Barry were free to make all the errors their hearts desired. Brother Barry received hugs from the bench each time he missed a serve. Many hugs were given to him that day.
The Tritons changed up their lineup a little, moving President Griebs from the outside to opposite, President BBB King from opposite to middle, and having Maughty and BD Nic share an outside spot, and faced off against their local rival, SDSU, without a break. The fresh SDSU team barely won the first game, but then pulled ahead early in the second and took the match.
Then, UC Slam Diego went up against University of Arizona with basically the same lineup, only leaving BD Nic in all the way around and Sleepy electing to let Pledge play instead of him. Unfortunately, the Tritons lost this match as well.
The last match of the day paired the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego Tritons against the hosting club, the CSU Fullerton Titans. Trombz shifted the Presidents back to outside and opposite, put Sleepy back in, and left Shaft as the other outside for their final match of the day. After playing three matches in a row before this and having a record of 1-2 for the day thus far, the Tritons were going up against more than just a strong opposing team. The resourceful gentlemen found some bootstraps, pulled themselves up by them, and slammed against CSU Fullerton, ending the day on a win and a 2-2 record.
Although not the result that the Tritons were looking for, the tournament was a useful tool for configuring and testing different lineups for the tournaments to come. Their next tournament is this Saturday, January 30th, in the AUX Gym in RIMAC, starting at 9 AM.
2016 Far Westerns Invitational
United, We Will Slam
After setting a Men’s Club Volleyball record by getting every member of the team cleared on SCOMS in an hour and a half the Friday before their tournament with the help of the always lovely trainers Jesse Purcell and Carolyn Dartt as well as the always loveliest Jacobus Woodhead, and with only a single practice as a complete team under their belts, the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego split into two teams to compete in the annual SDSU Preseason Showcase Tournament. One team consisted of the Wonder Twins, Jon ‘Nic?’ Maroun and Nic ‘Jon?’ Maroun; Jeffery ‘Somehow Always a Starter’ Meng; Joe ‘JOE’ Guarnes; Richard ‘On Fleek’ Zheng; and two new players: Connor ‘Rush Pike’ Barry and Mahdi ‘Naughty with an M’ Younis. The other team was headed by the classically good looking Presidents of UC Slam Diego: Chris ‘Griebs’ Griebenow and Jordan ‘BBB’ King. Accompanying them were a rag-tag group of fresh recruits, among them, Chris ‘-Pedro’ Shaffer, Tim ‘He’s Blue Da Ba Dee Da Ba Die’ Green, Miraj ‘The Tangible’ Patel, Davis ‘Aggie’ Windes, and Dylan ‘Don’t Need No’ Shields.
Play started on Saturday with The Wonder Twins going 0-2 and the Presidents and their Cabinet going 1-2 in natural UC Slam Diego fashion. The key is to put yourself in a position where there is nowhere to go but up. Which ended up being the case the following day of play, when each team ended up tying for fifth out of 21 highly competitive teams. If the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego are able to perform at that level without any subs on two divided teams, imagine what they can accomplish as one.
“54 Biceps*, Two Teams, One Club”
*Number subject to change
What Happens in Vegas, Stays in the Group Chat Forever
The gentlemen of UC Slam Diego kicked off their Spring Break in Sin City for the annual Las Vegas Open. Each year, this is the final tournament before Nationals and teams from across the nation travel to compete. Or for an excuse to go to Vegas. No one is quite sure.
The first day of play consisted of a 4-team pool with UC Slam Diego at the top, U of A seeded 2nd, CSU Fullerton in 3rd, and bringing up the rear, Cal Poly’s B Team. Due to Nic “Rug Burn on his Eyes” Maroun, Mahdi “Butt-Touch Pickpocketed” Younis, and Tim “Took the Walk Instead of Striking Out” Green being late to the warmup for the Tritons’ first match, UC Slam Diego made them watch from the bench as the remaining 6 players had a blast playing out of position and slamming against CSU Fullerton. Notably, Joe “Let’s Go” Guarnes and Jon “Hot Twin” Maroun got to slam at the net instead of playing their communist positions of libero and setter. Jeff “My Tongue Just Feels Weird” Meng and Chris “Slide into Her DMs” Shaffer played in their normal positions, but still seemed to enjoy themselves. Presidents and Race-Winners Chris “Reverse Katy Perry” Griebenow and Jordan “Black Jordan Strikes Again” King got to switch off at middle and opposite for the two games of that match.
The second match was against Cal Poly’s B Team. This time, Tim “Bought the Noise” Green slammed as an outside with Nic “Literally Blood-Red Eyes” Maroun. Everyone else took up normal positions, except for Chris “Someone Help Me Get My Jersey Off” Griebenow, who donned his shmedium white jersey to play libero, giving Joe “I Walked over an Hour to Get Here” Guarnes some much-needed rest. The Tritons won this match easily as well, having more fun than anyone else in the tournament while doing so.
The final match of the day was against U of A. Slam Diego lost to them, taking 2nd in the pool, which turned out to be excellent strategery since the Tritons got to start off their playoff bracket the next day with their favorite volleyball representation of America: Air Force. With innumerable wenches cheering the gentlemen of UC Slam Diego on, Air Force fell in 2 sets to the Tritons, allowing the stellar UC Slam Diego team to lose to the number one team in the nation in the quarter-finals, Cal Poly. We’ll get them when it counts. National’s baby!
A San Diego Final at League Playoffs
On the Saturday before finals week, the studious gentlemen of UC Slam Diego took a study break to travel to Anaheim for League Playoffs for the first time in four years. Their power pool for seeding for the bracket was tough, with UCLA and ASU being the first and second seed in the pool, respectively. Both of these teams delivered close loses to the Tritons the weekend prior at the crossover tournament, and they were foaming at the mouth at the chance to play them again.
The first match pitted UC Slam Diego against UCLA. The Tritons whooped them in 2 games with little resistance, which greatly upset the Boisterous Bruins. The second match was against ASU, who barely triumphed over the Tritons in the 3rd game. This did not upset the cool-headed gentlemen in the slightest since the pool was simply for seeding into the playoff bracket, and as you can see by the title of this article, it clearly worked out for them. The Tritons ended up taking first place in the seeding pool due to a tie-breaker resulting from UCLA beating ASU in three games giving the pool a three-way tie.
The Tritons received a bye for the first round of playoffs, with SDSU having a bye on the other side of the bracket. Wanting to play SDSU in the finals, UC Slam Diego would have to defeat UCLA once again in the semi-finals. This match, the Bruins were out for blood. The Bloodthirsty Bruins showed their true colors during this match, and boy were they ugly. More four-letter words came from across the net than my poor mother had ever heard. She maybe even learned a few that evening. But, San Diego kept it classy and let our playing do the talking, defeating the Bad-Mouthed Bruins in three games, securing their one-way ticket to the finals. After some more not-so-kind words from the Brutish Bruins as we shook hands, one Bench-Hating Bruin kicked over their bench in a fit of rage. It was quite amusing. As if we won twice. Oh wait, we did that day, so it was like a third win.
SDSU won in the finals, but oh well, we beat the Bad-Mannered Bruins twice in one evening.
UC San Diego Slams Over University of Arizona
UC Slam Diego Men’s Club Volleyball Season Opener
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