FULLERTON, Calif. - Playing in a neutral site game on Friday night, the Cal Lutheran men's volleyball team dropped a five set heartbreaker, 3-2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 15-10) against Benedictine-Mesa (Ariz.) at Hope International University.
The Kingsmen and the Redhawks faced off against one another last weekend at the CLU/UCSC Invitational and the Violet and Gold cruised to a 3-0 sweep.
On Friday, CLU looked to have a repeat performance as they edged out the first set 25-23 before taking set two 25-20. Benedictine-Mesa responded with consecutive 25-17 set wins and in the fifth and final set, the Redhawks pulled away with a 7-3 run after the teams were knotted up at 5-5.
Offensive Highlights: Hunter Horn led the Kingsmen with 14 kills on a team-high 37 attacks and Kristian Gallardo also reached double figures with 11 kills. Keaton Arutian tallied 33 assists to go along with four service aces. Nicholas Oertli notched eight kills in the match and Michael Campbell finished with six.
Defensive Highlights: Horn also led the team with 14 digs while Jamal Balkhi recorded 12 as the only other Kingsmen in double-figures. At the net, Oertli led CLU with three total blocks and Campbell and Arutian added two apiece.
Opponent: The Redhawks were led by Nick Gibson who slammed down a game-high 21 kills while adding 11 digs and CJ Everts totaled 14 kills and eight digs. Jaron Jones led the team with 50 assists.
Notables: This marks the sixth time this season the Kingsmen have battled into the fifth set and come up just short.
Cal Lutheran (3-15) will travel to UC Merced for its next match next Saturday, Mar. 5 at 5:00 p.m.