ORANGE (10-20) UCSC (12-13) played with SCIAC co-leaders Chapman (18-3) throughout all three sets but the Panthers swept the Slugs (22-25, 15-25, 30-32) with their game-winning kills in the first and third set.
From the start of the first set, the Slugs and Panthers played it close, with neither team having a lead of more than two points until the final play. After Chapman took the lead 21-22, UCSC called a timeout to regroup and readjust their game plan to control the set. Coming out of the timeout, Claire Okerlund was able to execute on a crucial kill, assisted by Alana Susbilla, tying the game again at 22-22. Chapman took control, however, with three kills to end the set.
UCSC did not play as close in the second set, but still challenged the Panthers defensively.
Threatened by a sweep, UCSC would not back down. Saying that third set was exciting to watch would be an understatement. The Slugs were eager to satisfy their hunger for a win, as they took the first 4 points, two on kills by Alexandria Everett (one assisted by Sinead Beaupain), and a third kill by Maddie Fowler, also assisted by Beaupain. With the Slugs up 12-8 following a kill from Maiya Sears, the assist from Susbilla, Chapman took a hold of their match momentum to catch up with the Slugs. The Panthers won the next 5 points and attained their first lead of the set at 12-13. After this point, 16 of the 18 game ties occurred, neither team willing to submit to the other. The evidence of the hard work ethic the Slugs have prided themselves in since the beginning of the season was exemplified on the court. No matter what the set score was, the Slugs battled for every point in the third set, surpassing 25, and forcing the game into extra points. A kill by Susbilla and another from Timolin Kepon, each assisted by the other, tied the game and then allowed the Slugs to take the lead at 28-27. But the Panthers once again rose to the occasion, and were up 29-30 over UCSC. Another dominant kill from Kepon, assisted by Susbilla, gave the Slugs a chance to take the set back. Chapman had another idea. With the final two kills, the Panthers took the set and game, even with the Slugs hitting 0.231 in the third compared to Chapman's 0.224.
Playing some remarkable volleyball right before the Slugs' ACAA tournament appearance, multiple players contributed to UCSC's competitive efforts against the Panthers. Claire Okerlund had a team-high 14 kills, and Maiya Sears was not far behind her with 10 kills. Alana Susbilla had 22 assists and Beaupain had 21 assists to reach 500 for the season and her career. Cassie Nickel was credited with game high digs with 22.
Before the Slugs head to Pennsylvania for their ACAA tournament debut on November 2, UCSC will take on Mills College in Oakland on Thursday the 24th, and will finish their home season with Senior Night at the West Field House against the Academy of Art on Friday, October 25th at 7p.m.