SANTA CRUZ (2-22) – UC Santa Cruz started a three-match homestand as they took on NCAA Division II member UC San Diego at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Tritons defeated the Banana Slugs 3-0.
In the first set, the Tritons would start the set on a 13-6 run capped by an assisted block by Xander Jimenez and Vlad Pesic. The Banana Slugs would come as close as three, at 16-13, on a service ace by Raymond Cascio. The Tritons would take their largest lead of the set at eight, at 23-15, on an assisted block by Jimenez and Pesic. The Tritons won the first set 25-18.
In the second set, the two teams traded points for the first fourteen serves. The Tritons would score three consecutive points to take the lead at 10-7. The Banana Slugs would work their way back into the set and tied the set at 11-11 on a Tennessee Fulks kill. The two teams would trade points over the next eight serves. The Tritons would take the lead for good, at 16-15, on a Wyatt Harrison kill. The Tritons gained their largest lead of the set at five on two occasions; the second occasion at set point on an assisted block by Pesic and Collin Shannon. The Tritons would win the second set 25-20 and would take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, the two teams would trade points over the first twenty-two serves. The Banana Slugs would take the lead at 12-11 on an attack error by the Tritons. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set at three at 17-14 on an assisted block by Kyle Donohoe and Phillip Grote. The Tritons would go on a 5-1 run, capped by an attack error by the Banana Slugs, to take the lead at 19-18. The two teams would trade points, and the lead, over the next nine serves. The Tritons would score the final two points of the set to win the third set 25-23 and win the match 3-0.
For UC Santa Cruz, Cascio had eleven kills and for UC San Diego, Harrison had a match-high thirteen kills. Matthew Nealon had twenty-seven assists for UC Santa Cruz and Donohoe led the Banana Slugs with seven digs.
For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .132 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the second set at .281. UC San Diego had a .264 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the second set at .346. The Tritons had three more service aces (6-3) than did the Banana Slugs.
The next matches for the Banana Slugs will be March 4th as they host NAIA member UC Merced at noon and NCAA Division III #3 Dominican University (IL) at 6 pm.