The League Champs 2017 Tournament was an interesting ride. Before any balls were flung in the air, drama was already brewing for the Tritons. A mere half hour before the tournament started, Julia “Albe-pretty dirty because she was sick” House was taken out by a last minute visit from a nasty stomach bug. This coupled with the un(kind of)foreseen traffic, which stranded seven players in the ecological wasteland of the I-5 North promised an interesting day. In total, only five players were at the gym on time. Talk of having to play with a ghost player was bubbling up but luckily, pretty much five minutes after discussing the possibilities of playing without a full lineup (and how awesome Rachel “was she seriously a middle before?!” Robinson’s haircut was), everyone showed up. And boy did they show up. The whole team looked like a beautiful tan goddesses. So golden they rivaled the goldness of King Triton’s trident itself, so fly that Phil “coach” Brault had to remind us life isn’t all about looking great. It’s also about winning, and we wanted to win!
The first game started out rough for the Tritons against Loyola “arch nemeses” Marymount University, as the team did not practice together for the two weeks leading up to the tournament. Luckily the tritons have a way of living up to their catch phrase “shock’em” and shocked not only themselves, but also LMU. When the tritons finally started playing it was something so magical it was a beautiful sight to be seen. Emma “gold digger without the gold except in her complexion” Choi might as well have been a bouncer at a club. She collected cover after cover after cover. Those saves allowed for some fantastic freshman plays with Rachel chucking butter like no other at Gabbi “her name is actually Dabbi” Heitmann who bewildered LMU with her pitmaster ways. Long story short UCSD managed to scrape by and beat LMU in three sets.
Upon winning, the Tritons sighed a sigh of relief, for they figured “hey I guess we know how to play volleyball again”. After a long break, and an equally long chicken bake they were ready to go to war against the UCLA Bruins. UCSD started off strong and was crushing UCLA with a lead of around seven points to ten points when it happened. It had already happened in Irvine, then at home, then at Davis, then again in Vegas; UCSD just couldn’t finish. They lost the first set, and then after another strong start in the second set, they lost again. That match loss to UCLA almost “bruined” the Tritons’ day. Losing in two sets made it so that UCSD was dropped to the third seed in the pool and forced them to claw their way back to victory.
A short time later, UCSD learned they were playing UC Santa Barbara next in the crossover. The Tritons came out strong as Amanda Dieterle flaunted her fluffy elbow and gave everyone the best show in town, as she was getting balls up left, right and also deep. Other notable highlights from the match include when Nataly “pancake batter” Aguilar pulled an Emma/ Scott Sterling and got nailed in the face, when Alicia “nullPointerException” Chen went on a service streak that one time before promptly missing the rest of her serves, and finally when Brianna “Lego® prodigy” Inghilterra blocked an overpass straight down on the negative two foot line. But even with all of these notable instances, the play of the game came when a gaucho attempted to retie her shoe. She had difficulty mastering the loop de loop and after a couple last minute fumbles of the laces received the first yellow card of the tournament. Ultimately it was silly mistakes like this, and poor serve receive passing that allowed the Tritons to slip in and pull out a win.
With little downtime after the game, the tritons were back at it again and faced their second match of the day against their arch rivals LMU. Blocking and strong consistent serving allowed the Tritons to handily take the first set. In their normal fashion, the Tritons made the second set much more dramatic as they had a strong lead in the first half of the match and then lost it in the final five points. The last couple points went back and forth between the two teams until at 25-26 Alicia “that tall one” Chen wailed a ball out. Just as all hope for winning in two games was lost, an eleventh-hour whistle blow echoed over the court…there was a net on LMU. There was a net! The point went to UCSD and LMU was so emotionally defeated, all it took was another ace for the tritons to take the match.
UCSD did it, they were moving on to the finals! All was good in the world. Except for the fact that this was their fifth match of the day and no one had exercised all that intensely throughout the break because who has time for that when you’re getting tan? But there was still hope. The Tritons were to face SDSU. A bitter (solely on-court) rivalry had developed between the two teams throughout the season. The Tritons came out hard but were set back because they simply could not read the lefty-oppo on SDSU. She almost single handedly took down the Tritons. UCSD lost to SDSU in 2 sets, closing out their league champ 2k17 experience.
Even though they lost, they still celebrated with a cute (albeit very sweaty) group photo and cupcakes. But the cupcakes were for Chubs’ birthday. Happy belated birthday Chubs. All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday.