SAINT PAUL, MINN.- UC Santa Cruz finished its Midwest roadtrip with a pair of tough losses at the St. Catherine's Invitational.
In the early game on Saturday, UCSC started strong but couldn't keep pace with host Wildcats in a 3-1 loss (27-25, 7-25, 20-25, 22-25). The SLugs dropped the next game to No. 11 Gustavus Adolphus (9-25, 13-25, 16-25) to fall to 6-19.
Against St. Kate's, UCSC rallied from being down 14-7 to tie it at 18-all via a 11-4 run that included 2 kills by Alexandria Everett, an ace from Maddie Fowler and kills from Claire Okerlund, Shania Andrews and Sierra Yuen. There were 7 more ties until UCSC put the set away with a block by Everett and kill from Fowler to win set 1.
The comeback took a toll however as UCSC fell behind 15-5 after St. Kate's went on an 11-0 run enroute to winning set 2.
Set 3 had three ties before the hosts opened up a 21-16 lead. UCSC got back to within 2 at 21-19 before the hosts finished with a 4-1 run to take the set.
In a back-and-forth fourth set, UCSC was able to get to a 21-18 lead. However, the Wildcats rallied to finish with a 7-1 run to take the set and match.
Fowler led UCSC with 11 kills in the match, while Everett added 6 kills plus one solo block and two assisted.
In the next match, the defending MIAC champ Gusties (20-2) never let UCSC get comfortable and but a sustained run, holding the Slugs to negative hitting in each set while hitting .287 and out-serving UCSC with six aces to two. Maiya Sears led UCSC with six kills in the match and Andrews had a team-high 12 digs and an ace.
UCSC returns to California for their last three matches of the regular season, starting next Friday at Mills College.