Banana Slugs Go 2-1 at CLU/UCSC Invitational

THOUSAND OAKS (2-19-20) – UC Santa Cruz returned to Thousand Oaks and California Lutheran University for their second tournament of the season. The tournament was their third of the season. The Banana Slugs swept their match versus co-host California Lutheran University 3-0 on Friday and on Saturday, they lost 3-0 to NCAA Division III #13 Elmira College and won 3-1 over NAIA opponent Benedictine University (AZ) 3-1.

Game #1 – at California Lutheran (February 19th)

In the first set, the Banana Slugs would control the tempo from the beginning. The Banana Slugs would jump out to a 4-1 lead on a service ace. The Kingsmen would tie the set on five occasions; the fifth occasion coming at 16-16 on a Banana Slugs' service error. The Banana Slugs would take the lead for good at 17-16 on an attack error by the Kingsmen. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set at four on three occasions; the third occasion coming at 24-20 on a Kingsmen attack error. The Banana Slugs would go on to win the first set 25-22 and took a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Banana Slugs jumped out on a 7-2 run capped by a Kingsmen attack error. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at eleven, at 21-10, on a service ace. The Banana Slugs would win the second set 25-18 and took a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third set, the two teams would trade points back and forth for the first ten serves. The Banana Slugs would gain the lead for good, at 6-5, on a service ace. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at seven, at 21-14, on a Gino Gamboa kill. The Kingsmen would come as close as three, at 22-19, on a Nicholas Oertli kill. The Banana Slugs would go on to win the third set 28-26 and won the match 3-0.

For UC Santa Cruz, Jake Howard had eleven kills and for California Lutheran, Jordan Castro had a match high twelve kills. Evan Kittle had a match high thirty-four assists for UC Santa Cruz and Keaton Arutian had twenty two for California Lutheran. Cameron Bardeau led the Banana Slugs with a match high twelve digs and Jamal Balkhi had eleven digs for the Kingsmen.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .165 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the second set at .385 while California Lutheran had a .081 hitting percentage with the third set having the best percentage at .091. The Banana Slugs had fourteen more assists (38-24) than did the Kingsmen.

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Game #2 – vs. Elmira (February 20th)

In the first set, the Soaring Eagles had seven more kills than the Banana Slugs (16-9) as the Soaring Eagles won the first set 25-19 and took a 1-0 lead in the match. In the second set, the Banana Slugs' defense forced double the errors than they committed (8-4) but it was not enough. The set took extra serves to finish but, in the end, it was the Soaring Eagles who won the second set 26-24 and took a 2-0 lead in the match. In the third set, the Banana Slugs committed four errors while their opponents had five more kills (15-10). The Soaring Eagles won the third set 25-16 and won the match 3-0.

For UC Santa Cruz, Lake Merchen had ten kills and for Elmira, Erik Griffin had a match high twenty kills. Evan Kittle had twenty-six assists for UC Santa Cruz and Carlos Faccio had a match high forty-five for Elmira. Cameron Bardeau led the Banana Slugs with seven digs and Griffin had a match high eleven digs for the Soaring Eagles.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .232 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .261 while Elmira had a .388 hitting percentage with the third set having the best percentage at .625. The Soaring Eagles had nineteen more assists (46-27) than did the Banana Slugs.

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Game #3 – Benedictine University (AZ) (February 20th)

In the first set, the two teams played an incredibly tight set but in the end it was the Redhawks that came away with a 25-21 first set win and took a 1-0 lead in the match. In the second set, the two teams would play a back and forth set. In this set, however, it was the Banana Slugs that would win the set. The Banana Slugs won the second set 25-23 and tied the match at 1-1. In the third set, the Banana Slugs would control the set although the set was tight once again. The Banana Slugs would win the third set 25-22 and took a 2-1 lead in the match. The fourth set would take extra serves to determine the winner. The Banana Slugs would win the fourth set 26-24 and would win the match 3-1.  

For UC Santa Cruz, Lake Merchen had fifteen kills and for Benedictine, Logan Adcock had a match high sixteen kills. Ryan McLaughlin had a match high thirty-nine assists for UC Santa Cruz and Brandon Varney had twenty-three for Benedictine. Cameron Bardeau led the Banana Slugs with fourteen digs and Jesus Izaguirre had a match high fifteen digs for the Redhawks.

For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .155 hitting percentage while Benedictine had a .156 hitting percentage. The Banana Slugs had five more service aces (10-5) than did the Redhawks.

The Banana Slugs will have their next match on Friday as they take on NCAA Division II member Holy Names University in Oakland. The first serve is set for 7 pm.