IRVINE (3-10)– The NCAA Division III #2 Banana Slugs played their first match of the day as they took on NCAA Division II member Concordia University of Irvine in Irvine. The Eagles held the Banana Slugs to under a .240 hitting percentage and won the match 3-0.
Both teams won their last match. The Banana Slugs won 3-0 over NAIA member Hope International University on February 25th in Fullerton while the Eagles won 3-2 over Hope International in Fullerton on March 1st.
In the first set, the two teams would trade points for the first two serves. The Eagles would gain the lead for good, in the set, at 2-1 on a Banana Slugs' attack error. The Eagles would gain their largest lead of the set at five, at 11-6, on a Banana Slugs' attack error. The Banana Slugs would tie the match at 24-24 on an assisted block by Justin Fortner and Lake Merchen. The Eagles would score the last two points of the set and won the first set 26-24 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the two teams would again trade points to start the set; this set the two teams traded points for the first four serves. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set at two on three occasions; the third occasion at 6-4 on an Eagles' service error. The Eagles would go on a 5-2 spurt, capped by a Ryan Anselmo kill, to give the Eagles the lead for good at 9-8. The Eagles would gain their largest lead of the set at seven, at 17-10, on a Hunter Howell kill. The Eagles would win the second set 25-20 and expanded their match lead to 2-0.
In the third set, the Eagles would score the first two points of the set. The Banana Slugs tied the match on seven occasions; the seventh occasion at 18-18 on a Lake Merchen kill. The Eagles would take the lead for good at 19-18 on a Joseph Pillon kill. The Eagles would win the third set 25-21 and won the match 3-0. The loss broke the Banana Slugs' seven match winning streak.
For UC Santa Cruz, Merchen had twelve kills and for Concordia, Anselmo had a match high fifteen kills. Ryan McLaughlin had thirty-two assists for UC Santa Cruz and Chandler Gibb had a match high forty-two for Concordia. Cameron Bardeau led the Banana Slugs with a match high eleven digs and Gibb had nine digs for the Eagles.
For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .237 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .433 while Concordia had a .343 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .432. The Eagles had two fewer errors (14-12) than did the Banana Slugs.
The next match for the Banana Slugs is later today as they take on NCAA Division III member Regis College in Thousand Oaks at 6 pm.