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.