SANTA CRUZ (3-31) – The NCAA Division III #6 Banana Slugs played their first match of the 4th Annual Slug Fest as they took on California Lutheran University at West Field House. The Banana Slugs held the Kingsmen to under .120 hitting percentage and won the match 3-1.
This match was a rematch of a match that was played on February 11th in Thousand Oaks which was won by the Banana Slugs 3-0. Both teams lost their last match. The Banana Slugs lost 3-1 to #10 Wentworth Institute of Technology in Thousand Oaks on March 11th while the Kingsmen lost 3-0 over NCAA Division II member Concordia University of Irvine in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday.
In the first set, the Banana Slugs would lead from the opening serve. The Banana Slugs started the set on a 5-2 spurt capped by a Justin Fortner kill. The Kingsmen would come as close as two on two occasions; the second occasion at 7-5 on a Patrick Rowe kill. The Banana Slugs would gain a double-digit lead, at 20-10, on a Raymond Cascio kill. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at eleven, at set point, on a Kingsmen attack error. The Banana Slugs won the first set 25-14 and took a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the Banana Slugs would start the set on a 5-1 spurt capped by a Kyle Donohue kill. The Kingsmen would come as close as two at 13-11 on a service ace. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at eight on two occasions; the second occasion at set point on a Ryan Manley kill. The Banana Slugs won the second set 25-17 and took a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, the two teams would trade points, and the lead, through the first eight serves. The Banana Slugs would take their largest lead of the set, at two, at 14-12 on an assisted block by Raymond Cascio and Ryan McLaughlin. From that point, the Kingsmen went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Mason Mercer kill, to give the Kingsmen the lead for good at 19-14. The five point advantage was the largest of the set for the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen won the third set 25-20 and trimmed the Banana Slugs' match advantage to 2-1.
In the fourth set, the Banana Slugs started the set with the first two points of the set. The Kingsmen would come as close as one on five occasions; the fifth occasion at 6-5 on a Banana Slugs' service error. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the set at nine on seven occasions; the seventh occasion at 25-16 on a Kingsmen service error.
For UC Santa Cruz, Donohue had a match high eleven kills and for California Lutheran, Rowe also had eleven kills. Ryan McLaughlin had a match high thirty one assists for UC Santa Cruz and Nick Shoemate had twenty six for California Lutheran. McLaughlin led the Banana Slugs with a match high thirteen digs and Kristian Gallardo had eight digs for the Kingsmen.
For the match, UC Santa Cruz had a .376 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the first set at .520 while California Lutheran had a .117 hitting percentage with the best percentage coming in the third set at .179. The Banana Slugs had sixteen more blocks (22-6) than did the Kingsmen.
The Banana Slugs will have two matches tomorrow as a part of the 4th Annual Slug Fest. The Banana Slugs will take on NAIA member Benedictine University (AZ) at 4 pm and will have a rematch with California Lutheran University at 7 pm.