I was out of town this past weekend without internet access, so of course UCI sports had one of their most victorious weekends in recent memory. It’s old news by now, but a quick recap and some thoughts after the jump.
- Men’s basketball completed their first Big West weekend sweep in six years, soundly beating UC Davis 70-55 on Saturday night. Michael Wilder continued his strong play, leading the team with 20 points. Chris McNealy also finally had a strong shooting day, pouring in 14 of his 17 points in the first half on red hot 3-point shooting. The game was never really in doubt after the second half began, as UCI displayed another strong overall team effort, with everyone chipping in.
- Thoughts: The fact that this is the team to finally complete a road sweep says two things. One, that this bunch has a fair bit of resiliency and the ability to persevere. Two, that the bottom of the Big West conference is weaker than it has been in the past five or six years. Nonetheless, the fact that this team is now 3-1 in conference play with all three wins coming on the road is a fine accomplishment. Their unselfish play and ability to execute Coach Turner’s game plan is becoming more and more evident, and I believe that the team is improving dramatically as the season comes along. The next six games, while mostly at home, will present a much bigger challenge … but for now, it’s good to savor the moment. UCI inexplicably has an inside track for an upper half finish in the Big West!
- Men’s volleyball went up to Santa Barbara for the UCSB Invitational and dominated the competition. The Anteaters took out No. 1 BYU 3-1 in the first match, upsetting the supposed best team in the nation in relatively easy fashion. In game two, UCI fell behind No. 6 Long Beach State 0-2 before fighting their way back for the 3-2 win. In the championship game against No. 3 UCLA, UCI used a triumphant 35-33 win in game three to propel themselves to another 3-1 victory. A side product of hoisting the tournament trophy should be a No. 1 national ranking next week, as UCI has started out their season on fire.
- Jeremy Dejno received MPSF Player of the Week accolades for his beastly play over the weekend. I thought that Dejno outperformed Jordan DuFault and Cory Yoder last year during his brief stretches on the court, with an all-out aggressive style that put opposing defenses back on their heels. He should be a pleasure to watch this entire season and for the rest of his UCI career. Carson Clark continued his usual strong play over the weekend as well, which will be key for this year. Compared to last year, when Speraw was still trying to figure out the right starting lineup combination, this year’s team seems more or less set. It’s still early of course, but Clark-Dejno-Carroll-Thomas-Stork-middle blocker du jour seems like a lineup that is ready to rumble all the way to the NCAA championships.