In front of a raucous home crowd, UCSC returned home for the first time in six weeks and responded with a 3-1 win over Simpson University.
UCSC improved to 10-12 and swept the season series. Simpson fell to 5-18.
"The atmosphere last was incredible! It's what we want every home match to be like," said head coach Josh Davis afterward. "It was great to see the university come together. There were all different types of people there, and that makes me so happy and proud. "
The game opened with Simpson going up 2-0 on UCSC hitting errors before the hosts settled down and went on a 6-0 run highlighted by Tatum Novitzky's ace and a pair of Hailey McDaniel kills. Simpson rallied back but the Slugs held them off after trading points and sealed the game with a kill from Novitzky.
In the second set, UCSC opened hitting .368 and raced to a 15-10 lead to force a Simpson timeout. The visitors then went on a 10-6 run to get within 1 (21-20). The Slugs however then closed out the game with a 4-1 run, punctuated by an ace from Rachel Sveiven and a block from Martina Pedersen and Erica Allen to go up two sets to none.
The third set however got away from UCSC. The hitting was off as Simpson opened a 9-5 lead. The Slugs got to within 2 at 15-13 but Simpson closed out the set with a 10-4 run to win 25-17, hitting .209 to only .042 for UCSC.
After the wakeup call, the Slugs opened the fourth set with a 6-1 lead. Simpson fought back and Miranda Cook's kill made it 19-18 before the Slugs regained their attack. The Slugs went on a 4-0 run. Two more Simpson points cut the lead to 23-20 before Novitzky's kill set up match point. The Redhawks then got a kill and a UCSC service error to get within two again, but the next serve from Simpson hit the top of the net and bounced back into their court to give the match to the Banana Slugs.
"We struggled to get into a groove of communication and execution. However, we served and passed fairly well, and that's what wins matches," Davis said.
"We hope to continue building from this momentum at our next home match, and in all the athletic events to come!"
For the match Simpson actually outhit UCSC .169 to .159 but UCSC had an 8-5 edge in service aces.
Ashley Cervantes led the Redhawks with 16 kills 3 aces and 17 digs. Kallan Bedard and Novitzky each had 17 kills to lead the Slug offense. Monica Lee had a game-high 21 digs. Alana Susbilla had 41 assists to go with 16 digs and a pair of aces.
The Banana Slugs finish the season on Tuesday night at home against William Jessup at 6pm.