UC San Diego was the first team to win consecutive women’s NCAA Division III volleyball championships last year, but Coach Doug Dannevik was not overly optimistic about the chances of winning for a third year in a row.
After all, UCSD lost two All-Americans and for the first time since 1981 did not have an All-American returning.
With one starter back from last year’s team, UCSD looked to be in a rebuilding year.
But the players, most of whom have spent time at UCSD in reserve roles, seemed to think there was little question the Tritons had the capability to win their third consecutive title.
Maybe the players know something that the coach doesn’t.
“The kids are tougher than I thought before the season,” Dannevik said. “I didn’t give them credit for being here and training for a year. They’re young, but they have been here for at least a year.”
The “kids” are also better than he thought.
UCSD is 22-5 this season and ranked No. 1 in Division III. The Tritons’ five losses have come to San Diego State, ranked No. 13 in Division I, twice; Sacramento State, ranked No. 1 in Division II; Biola, ranked No. 3 in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics; and UC Riverside, No. 4 in Division II.
The San Diego State men’s soccer team has rebounded from the 1-0 loss to Nevada Las Vegas Sept. 16 that dropped the Aztecs from fourth to 10th in the national rankings.
SDSU, runner-up in the NCAA championships last year, has rallied since the loss and moved into a tie for fourth with North Carolina State. SDSU (10-1-1) is 5-0-1 since the loss. The tie came against third-ranked SMU in Texas.
UC San Diego has all four of its fall sports teams ranked among the top 10 in the country. The women’s volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the Division III poll.
Also ranked among the top 10 in Division III are the men’s soccer team at sixth with a 10-0-1 record and the women’s soccer team, which is seventh at 13-0-1.
The men’s water polo team is ranked 10th among all schools in the country and is the top-ranked Division III team. The NCAA combines all schools in water polo because there are not enough division II and III teams to warrant a separate championship.
The Grossmont College men’s cross-country team won its 66th consecutive dual meet Friday when it defeated San Diego City College, 25-32. . . . The Grossmont College women’s volleyball team, the defending state champion, is ranked No. 3 in the state and San Diego Mesa is rated No. 8. Grossmont has won 22 consecutive Pacific Coast Conference matches. . . . After the first four weeks of the season, Palomar College’s Duffy Daugherty, who played at Fallbrook High School, was the state’s No. 2 passer in yardage, averaging 265 yards per game.