SANTA CRUZ (3-12) – The #6 Banana Slugs played their second match of the 2016 Slug Slam as they took on California Lutheran University for the third time this season. The Banana Slugs held the Kingsmen to a hitting percentage below .100 as the Banana Slugs swept the Kingsmen 3-0.
As previously mentioned, the two teams have played two matches this season with both being held in Thousand Oaks. The Banana Slugs won both matches between the two teams; the first win coming on January 23rd and the second win coming on February 19th. In their last match, the Banana Slugs won 3-1 over NCAA Division III #7 Nazareth College last night in Santa Cruz while the Kingsmen lost 3-2 to Ramapo College earlier today in Santa Cruz.
In the first set, the Banana Slugs jumped out of the gate on a 3-0 spurt capped by a Kingsmen attack error. The Kingsmen would tie the set at 5-5 on a Banana Slugs' attack error. The Banana Slugs won then go on a 5-0 run, capped by a Riley Rutan kill, to take the lead for good at 10-5. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at eleven, at 23-12, on a service ace. The Banana Slugs won the first set 25-16 and took a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the Kingsmen started the set on a 5-2 spurt capped by a Banana Slugs' attack error. The Banana Slugs would work their way back into the set and would take the lead for good at 7-6 on a Kingsmen attack error. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at nine, at 24-15, on a Kingsmen attack error. The Banana Slugs won the second 25-17 and took a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, the two teams would trade points through the first twenty-two serves. The Banana Slugs would take the lead for good, at 12-11, on a Brian Campbell kill. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at six on three different occasions; the third occasion was at 23-17 on a Kingsmen attack error. The Kingsmen would come as close as four, at 23-19, on a service ace. The Banana Slugs would win the third set 25-19 and won the match 3-0.
For UC Santa Cruz, Lake Merchen had eight kills and for California Lutheran, Robert Rutecki had a match high nine kills. Evan Kittle had fifteen assists for UC Santa Cruz and Nick Shoemate had a match high sixteen for California Lutheran. Kittle led the Banana Slugs with five digs and Jamal Balkhi had a match high eight digs for the Kingsmen.
For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .260 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .360 while California Lutheran had a .077 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .125. The Banana Slugs had seven more service aces (8-1) than did the Kingsmen.
The Banana Slugs will finish up their three match homestand tomorrow as they take on Ramapo College at West Field House. The first serve is set for 10 am.