Coming off of two wins Friday night, the Banana Slugs men's volleyball team kept the fire going on Saturday, taking a hard-earned victory against Lakeland University and going into a fight-to-the-finish match against Wells College, falling just short in the 5th Set.
The Banana Slugs started off the night with a sweep (3-0) against Lakeland University (25-20, 25-20, 25-20). UCSC started off the 1st Set trading points with the Muskies, which led to 7 ties. The Slugs finally pulled away, after the 13-13 tie, outscoring the Muskies 12-6. UCSC hit .192 over Lakeland's .000.
In the 2nd Set, Lakeland came out eager to get on the scoreboard, taking a 4-7 lead. UCSC stayed composed as they fought back to tie the game at 7-7, off of kills by Quinn Barrett and Anthony Sagely (both assisted by Tennessee Fulks) and an assisted block by Rowdy Lennon, Kyle Lutz, and Sagely. From there, the Banana Slugs pushed to keep their lead, despite multiple ties, and hit .500 in the set to triumph over Lakeland, finishing the set with 18 kills.
The 3rd Set was again close to the finish even with the Slugs hitting .375. UCSC led 21-19 but closed out the set once again 25-20, complete with a kill by Sagely, assisted by Fulks.
Barrett had 10 kills, and Ian Dunipace had 8. Fulks lit up the stat sheet with 24 assists and 11 digs.
In their second match of the night, the Slugs were well matched with their opponent, Wells College, and went to 5 sets, losing the final set by 3 (25-27, 25-22, 11-25, 25-19, 12-15).
The UCSC Banana Slugs and Wells Express traded points throughout the first set with 17 ties. The Slugs went up 24-23, with a chance to win the set, but faced two back-to-back kills by Wells, pushing the set past the 25 point mark. Down 24-25, Barrett got a game-tying kill for UCSC (assisted by Sam Wittert), keeping them on the court. However, Wells finished the set with a kill and a block to start the match up 1-0.
UCSC came back to take the second set, winning 5 of the last 7 points, breaking the 20-20 tie.
Fatigue in back-to-back matches for the Slugs was an issue in the 3rd Set. UCSC hit -.042 in the 3rd compared to Wells hitting .545, leading to the largest margin of loss for UCSC in a set for the day, with a final score of 11-25. But a comeback awaited the Banana Slugs in the 4th, as they hit .400 and had 14 kills to get back into the game and tie the match 2-2 with an assertive kill by Ian Pizzuti for game point. The 5th and final set would determine the game. Wells took a quick 7-10 lead before UCSC took their final timeout of the match. Coming back to the game, the Slugs claimed the next three points: the first on a block by Phil Grote and Wittert, and the next two on kills by Aaron Fox and Pizzuti, both assisted by Wittert. Two quick points by Wells took the edge away from UC Santa Cruz. The Slugs fought hard for their next few points, but Wells was able to get ahead and stay ahead in order to win the set 12-15, and the match 3-2.
Wittert had 49 assists in the match. Pizzuti contributed 11 digs and 12 kills. Aaron Fox led the Slugs with 14 kills.
After a weekend record of 3-1, the Slugs are now 4-2 in season. UCSC plays next weekend at the Cal Lutheran Invitational in Thousand Oaks, CA.