UC Santa Cruz shook off a slow start against Arcadia University but couldn't complete the comeback in a 3-2 loss to the Knights (23-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 13-15) at the West Field House.
UCSC rebounded in the nightcap against Mills with a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-14, 25-19) to improve to 3-9 on the season.
Against Arcadia (7-1), the Knights finished set one on a 7-5 run after their were thirteen ties. They pulled away late in the second set as well after UCSC tied it at 17-all after a block by Alexandria Everett and Maddie Fowler.
Trailing two sets to none, the Slugs found a new energy to finish stronger in the next two sets and force their first Set Five of the season. They held the Knights to -.077 in set three and .000 in set four.
In the final set, UCSC went ahead 9-7 before the Knights scored 7 straight points to get to match point. The Slugs again rallied with four straight points to make it 14-13 but the Knights took the last point to end the exciting match.
Claire Okerlund led UCSC with 13 kills to go to 300 kills in her career, while Shania Andrews and Isabella Hoglund added 12. The Banana Slugs had an amazing 14 blocks, their most in a match since their 15 against Washington (Mo.) in 2016.
In the game against local rival Mills, UCSC went deep in their bench to sweep the Cyclones (1-9). Okerlund had 8 kills while Everett, Timolin Kepon and Maiya Sears had 6 each. Kepon added 4 aces and Cassie Nickel served a career-high 5 aces as part of UCSC's 15 ace onslaught.
Alana Susbilla had 14 assists to pass Kyrsti Photias for tenth on the school's career assist chart with 688.
Slugfest continues Saturday with Arcadia taking on Mills in an early game before the Knights and Banana Slugs have their rematch at 1pm.