THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Fresh off its first win of the season, the Cal Lutheran men's volleyball team was looking to make it two in a row, however, a hard fought match went in favor of visiting Hope International 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-13, 25-19) inside Gilbert Arena on Tuesday night.
The first set was a game of runs, as the Royals jumped out to an 8-2 lead, only to have the Kingsmen rally for five straight points to make it 8-7. Kristian Gallardo started hot and stayed hot for CLU, and Michael Campbell provided an early kill to fire up the Violet and Gold.
CLU continued to battle, evening the score at 13-13 and then again at 18-18 moments later. From that moment on, both teams traded points until it was 23-23, but a costly service error and attacking error swung the first set in favor of HIU, 25-23.
Determined to even up the score, CLU provided another big rally after trailing early on in the second set. Gallardo racked up three kills in the beginning of the set and Robert Rutecki got into the mix with a couple of kills of his own. The Kingsmen surged ahead to take a 20-13 lead and held off a late Royals rally to take the set 25-22.
In the third set, the teams continued their evenly matched play going back-and-forth and a Nicholas Oertli kill brought CLU within one point, down 12-11. The Violet and Gold, however, would surrender a 9-0 run to the Royals, who capitalized on seven attacking errors from CLU during that stretch and would eventually capture the set 25-13.
HIU carried over its momentum from the previous set and jumped out to a 21-13 lead. The Kingsmen staged one last rally with five unanswered points, but it was too late.
Gallardo led CLU with 18 kills on 49 total attacks and Hunter Horn was second on the team with nine. Keaton Arutian tallied 37 assists and Jamal Balkhi led the way with a game-high 11 digs.
For the Royals, the duo of Beau-General Osborne and Zach Greene finished with 15 and 14 kills, respectively.
Cal Lutheran (1-10) will continue its home stand with a match against UC Merced this Saturday, Feb. 9 inside Gilbert Arena at 5:00 p.m.