The UC San Diego Tritons performed swimmingly at the national ranking tournament, hosted by UCLA at the home of the Bruins this weekend on January 28 through the 29. The first day we were lucky enough to be placed in a five-team pool and needed to take at least third in order to advance to power pools the following day. Being the overachievers we are, we won all four matches, earing first place. However, day one was no picnic, three out of the four matches were won in three sets. Of course this did not upset us because we love third games.
Our big W on the first day placed us as the first seed in our power pool to start the second day. After suffering a devastating loss to LMU, 17-15 in the third game, we needed to beat SDSU in 2 sets in order to advance to the gold bracket. Lucky for us we work together like 12 parts of a well-oiled machine. Everyone brings something spicy to the table of teamwork. Bri (Snazzy Pants) Inghilterra was building blocks so essential to our success they could have been mistaken for nucleotides. Alicia (Flame Bullets) Chen hit a ball perfectly atop the head of an opponent standing in the dangerous location of the two foot line. Emma (The Dome) Choi took a ball to the face in an unsuccessful attempt to mimic the iconic Scott Sterling. While some bystanders were concerned for her safety, 100% of the team found it painstakingly hilarious. It was plays such as these that allowed us to excel into the finals.
In the finals we faced off with University of Texas, a formidable opponent. As said by many motivational members of the West Coast society we were trying to win it “for the West Side.” We experienced a shady start losing the first set 25-21, but the defensive efforts of Nataly (Flop Monster) Aguilar kept us in the match. We proceeded to win the second set forcing a third game tie breaker because why play two games when you can play three? Rachael (Shoe String) Robinson came in to set and boy did she set us up for success. We got off with a hefty lead, but emotions started to rise when The Longhorns pulled ahead at 14-13. The final rally was nail-biter. The Texas middle went up facing a fiery block and somehow managed to get the ball through into the back corner. This was the perfect placement, right over Gina (G-Nasty) Powers’ head. Although we were unable to get the outcome we wanted, the UCLA tournament was a great start to our season.