Banana Slugs Complete Cal-Lu-Fornia Classic With Two Wins

Photo courtesy of UCSC Sports Medicine
Photo courtesy of UCSC Sports Medicine

THOUSAND OAKS (3-10) UC Santa Cruz finished their twenty-seven match road trip as they took on Lakeland University in the morning match and California Lutheran University in the evening match as part of the Cal-Lu-Fornia Classic. The Banana Slugs won both matches 3-0 to go to 25-9 this season.

Match #1 – vs. Lakeland

In the first set, the Banana Slugs would take the lead for good in the set at 2-1 on a Raymond Cascio kill. The Banana Slugs would take a double digit lead at 22-12 on a service ace. 

In the second set, the Banana Slugs started the set on a 5-1 spurt capped by an attack error by the Muskies. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at five, at 13-8, on a service ace by Gino Gamboa. The Muskies would come as close as one at 16-15 on an attack error by the Banana Slugs. The Banana Slugs won the second set 25-22 and extended their lead in the match to 2-0.

In the third set, the Banana Slugs scored the first two points of the set and would take a 10-6 lead on a bad set by the Muskies. The Muskies would respond with a 6-2 spurt to tie the set at 12-12. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 11-4 run, capped by an assisted block by Justin Fortner and Shad Harris, to take their largest lead of the set at seven at 23-16. The Banana Slugs won the third set 25-20 and won the match 3-0.

For UC Santa Cruz, Chris Salas had ten kills and for Lakeland, Desmond Williams had a match-high fourteen kills. Sam Wittert had a match high eighteen assists for UC Santa Cruz and Ian Pizzuti led the Banana Slugs with eight digs.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .326 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the second set at .393 while Lakeland had a .198 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the second set at .423. The Banana Slugs had three more service aces (4-1) than did the Muskies.

Match #2 vs. California Lutheran

In the first set, the two teams would trade points for the first six serves. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 7-3 run, capped by an attack error by the Muskies, to take the lead for good at 10-6 and gained their largest lead of the set at five at 23-18 on a Ryan Manley kill. The Banana Slugs would win the first set 25-22.

In the second set, the Banana Slugs started on a 6-2 spurt capped by an attack error by the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen would then go on a 13-7 run, capped by a Grant Nelson kill, to take their largest lead of the set at two at 15-13. The Banana Slugs would tie the set at 15-15 on an assisted block by Fortner and Lake Merchen. The two teams traded points for the next eight serves. After the Kingsmen took a 21-19 lead on a Mike Campbell kill, UCSC would go on a 6-3 spurt, capped by an assisted block by Fortner and Ryan Manley, to take the lead at 25-24 and would win the second set 27-25 for a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third set, the teams traded points for the first fourteen serves. The Slugs would then go on a 12-7 run, capped by an assisted block by Fortner and Merchen, to take the lead for good at 19-14, the largest lead of the set. UCSC won the third set 25-21 and won the match 3-0.

For UC Santa Cruz, Cascio had a match-high twelve kills and for California Lutheran, Brendan Ward had nine kills. Kittle had thirty-five assists for UC Santa Cruz and both Kittle and Merchen led the Banana Slugs with eleven digs apiece.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .188 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the first set at .231 while California Lutheran had a .152 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the first set at .192. The Banana Slugs had ten more combined blocks (22-12) than did the Kingsmen.

The Banana Slugs now have twenty four days before their next match April 3rd as they take on NAIA member Menlo College in Santa Cruz.