#6 Tops #8 in Season Opener

#6 Tops #8 in Season Opener

SANTA CRUZ (1-14) – The NCAA Division III #6 Banana Slugs had a tough match on paper as they took on the NCAA Division III #8 Vassar College at West Field House. 

The Banana Slugs are coming off an 18-7 season in the 2016 season. In their last match, the Brewers won 3-0 over California Lutheran University on Thursday in Thousand Oaks.

In the first set, the Banana Slugs would hold a slight lead through the first twenty serves. The Banana Slugs would take a three point lead at 12-9 on a Raymond Cascio kill. The Brewers would come as close as one on six different occasions; the sixth occasion coming at 17-16 on a Matthew Knigge kill. The Banana Slugs would respond with a 6-0 run, capped by a Cascio kill, to make the score 23-16. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at eight, at set point, on a Brewers' attack error. The Banana Slugs won the first set 25-17 and took a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Banana Slugs would lead wire-to-wire. The Banana Slugs would score the first four points of the set – two on Brewers' attack errors, one on a Jake Howard kill and one on a service ace. The Banana Slugs would take a double digit lead, at 19-9, on a Brewers' attack error. The Banana Slugs took their largest lead of the set at twelve, at set point, on a Brewers' attack error. The Banana Slugs won the second set 25-13 and took a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third set, the Banana Slugs took control of the set with three consecutive points to start the set – two on Brewers' attack errors and one on a Jake Howard kill. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set at ten on three occasions; the third occasion coming at 24-14 on a Brewers' service error. The Brewers would then go on a 6-0 run, capped by a Banana Slugs' attack error, to cut the Banana Slugs' lead to 24-20. The Banana Slugs won the third set 25-20 and won the match 3-0.

For UC Santa Cruz, Howard had a match high sixteen kills and for Vassar, Knigge had seven kills. Ryan McLaughlin had a match high twenty eight assists for UC Santa Cruz and Zechariah Lee had fourteen for Vassar. Merchen led the Banana Slugs with a match high six digs and Trey Cimorelli had five digs for the Brewers.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .394 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the first set at .571 while Vassar had a .000 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the first set at .105. The Banana Slugs had seventeen more assists (34-17) than did the Brewers.

The next match for the Banana Slugs is Monday as they take on NCAA Division III #2 SUNY New Paltz at 7 pm at West Field House.