SPRINGFIELD, OHIO - UC Santa Cruz finished their trip to the Jim Coleman Invitational with a pair of sweeps Saturday.
The Banana Slugs outlasted Mount St. Joseph 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 in the matinee and turned right around to beat the host Wittenberg Tigers 28-26, 25-22, 25-18.
UCSC improves to 4-5 on the season.
In the first match against the Lions, UCSC hit .252 and outblocked their opponents 8-2 in the ninety-minute win.
Set three was the closest, as MSJ opened up a 10-3 lead before UCSC rallied with an 11-4 run to tie it at 14. The Lions responded with a 5-2 run to take a 19-16 lead. UCSC came back again and after a pair of bad sets by the Lions, finished the match off with a kill by Raymond Cascio for their second straight win at the tournament.
The match against Wittenberg opened with seventeen ties in set one. However, UCSC outlasted the hosts after a Tiger service error tied it at 26 and then kills from Jacob Shapiro and Ian Pizzuti gave them a 28-26 win. Set two was close as well before UCSC finished on a 6-2 run that featured two kills and a solo block by Cascio.
The block party continued in set three as UCSC jumped to a 13-9 lead, helped by three blocks. The Tigers got to within 15-14, but the Banana Slugs responded by pushing the lead to 23-16, helped by a pair of kills from Aaron Fox and aces from Pizzuti and Justin Fortner.
UCSC hit an efficient .227 compared to Wittenberg's .156 and had 8.5 blocks to the Tigers' 6. Kyle Donohoe had 11 kills while hitting .417 and six digs.
Matthew Nealon and Sam Wittert shared the setter duties well with 12 and 16 assists respectively. Pizzuti added eight kills and eight digs while Cascio had seven kills, two aces and five total blocks.
Cascio was named to the All-Tournament team. He became UCSC's career block leader on Friday, and on Saturday entered the school's top ten list for kills. He now has 586 for his career to pass Justin Lam (2007-10) for ninth place.
The Banana Slugs play four games in southern California next week, beginning with a Saturday doubleheader in Thousand Oaks against Illinois Tech and Cal Lutheran.