THOUSAND OAKS (11-13) – UC Santa Cruz played their first match in the NCAA Division III Volleyball National Tournament in two years as they took on the AVCA NCAA Division III #1 Washington University in St. Louis. Although the Banana Slugs nearly hit .150 for the match, the Bears swept the Banana Slugs 3-0.
In their last match, the Banana Slugs swept Agnes Scott College last Saturday in Decatur while the Bears defeated then-#1 Emory University 3-2 in Rochester.
In the first set, the Banana Slugs held a lead for the first ten serves. They held their largest lead of the set at two on two occasions; the second coming at 5-3 on a Bears' service error. The Bears would take the lead, in the set, for good at 6-5 on a service ace. The Bears would gain their largest lead of the set at nine, at 23-14, on an Alex Sheredy kill. The Bears would win the first set 25-17 and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the Bears would start the set off fast, gaining their largest lead of the set at four, at 5-1, on an Amanda Palucki kill. The Banana Slugs would crawl back into the match and would take the lead at 8-7 on a Kellie Graves kill. The two teams would trade points, and the lead, through the remainder of the set. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at two, at 20-18, on a Maya Lloyd kill. The Bears would go on a 7-3 set-ending run to win the second set 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, the Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set at one, at 2-1, on a Maya Lloyd kill. The Bears would proceed to go on a 5-0 run to crack the set open. The Bears would expand their lead to double digits and take their largest lead of the set at eleven, at 21-10, on a service ace. The Bears won the third set 25-14 and won the match 3-0.
Banana Slugs head coach Morgan Ehritt said after the match, "Our players showed up and did a great job. We played as a team the whole time when we were down and we were up. I couldn't be more proud of them and their performance today. I think this season was a huge building season for us as a team and a program. This is only our second time to nationals. Just going forward, I think we're going to get better, bigger and stronger."
The Banana Slugs' season concludes with an 11-12 record.