RIVER FOREST, IL - UC Santa Cruz finished their midwest trip in the most dramatic fashion, coming from behind to beat fifth-ranked Dominican 3-2 (17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-11).
UCSC improves to 12-2 on the season and handed Dominican (3-1) their first loss. In their earlier game on Sunday, the Banana Slugs hit .349 in a sweep of North Central.
"Ecstatic on how we performed this weekend. We battled very hard and left everything on the court," said head coach Paul Leon afterwards. "As a coach, I can't ask for much more from my players."
UCSC hit .196 in the first two sets but rebounded to hit .351 the rest of the way, including .364 in the final set.
"Not only did we get better as a team, but we came together with contributions from our whole roster," Leon said. "Very proud of how we overcame one of our toughest hurdles of the season."
All-American Lake Merchen finished with a career-high 30 kills on 50 swings and just 3 errors. Ryan Manley had 11 kills, Raymond Cascio had 7 kills to go with 7 total blocks, including 2 solo roofs.Evan Kittle had 53 assists with 7 total blocks. Cody Hiroto and Cody Chacon each had two service aces.
UCSC returns to California to play at the Cal Lutheran tournament next weekend.