UC Santa Cruz went 1-1 at the Leopard Invitational on Friday, playing two hard fought matches in two different arenas.
Match #1 vs University of Puget Sound
UC Santa Cruz rallied to five sets with University of Puget Sound in their first match at La Verne, but were ultimately outplayed in the 5th set in a 3-2 loss (25-22, 24-26, 9-25, 25-23,12-15). From the start of the first set, it was clear that the match between the Loggers and the Slugs would a hard-fought competition. The Slugs used their skill and determination to carry them to a 1st set win. In the second set, Puget Sound did not let their loss get to them. After Santa Cruz gained a 19-14 lead following a kill by Holly Teisher, Puget Sound rose to the occasion, winning 24-26, and carried the momentum into dominating the third set. The fourth set consisted of multiple rallies and the lead constantly shifting between the Slugs and the Loggers, but the Slugs battled to the end, winning 25-23 off a kill by Isabella Hoglund from a Sinead Beaupain assist. UC Santa Cruz stayed with Puget Sound until the very end of the 5th set, but lost 12-15.
Beaupain was the game leader in assists with 25 while Timolin Kepon added a team-high 21 digs. Senior Alana Susbilla made her season debut and contributed 11 digs and 11 assists to go over 1,000 career assists. Gio Martins had a team-high 3 aces and Claire Okerlund led the Slugs in kills (9) and block assists (7). Okerlund added 2 aces to pass Melissa Tom (2005-08) for sixth on the UCSC career aces chart and now has 74.
Match #2 at Pomona-Pitzer
After braving Highway 60, the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs played to win in their second match of the day against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens 3-1 (14-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-23). Struggling to get returns and points on the board during the 1st, the Slugs went into the 2nd set with a poised demeanor and positive mentality, taking charge with a 25-15 win. UCSC kept their winning mentality throughout the 3rd for another dominant set win, and to claim the match in the 4th, with a close victory over the Sagehens, 25-23.
Okerlund once again led the Slugs in kills with 11. Beaupain added 24 assists and 12 digs, while Cassie Nickel contributed 14 digs in the Banana Slugs' win.
The Banana Slugs (5-5) will continue the Leopard Invitational with two more games tomorrow against Whittier (3-5) and at La Verne (3-5).