SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran men's volleyball team played in the 2016 Slug Slam hosted by UC Santa Cruz, falling twice over the weekend. The first match was a five-set thriller between the Kingsmen and Ramapo while the second came at the hands of the Banana Slugs in straight sets.
RAMAPO def. CLU 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 14-25, 25-20, 19-17):
The first match of the weekend was the second straight five-setter for the Kingsmen who took an early lead by winning the first game after notching 16 kills and a team hitting percentage of .355. Teams exchanged victories with Ramapo earning the final game in extra points. The third set, which the Violet and Gold also won, belonged to the designated home team that hit at a .500 clip with just three errors and 13 kills. Leading the offense in the opening match was Hunter Horn who put down 13 kills on 25 swings without a miscue for an individual hitting percentage of .520 while also tallying three service aces. Kristian Gallardo led all players with 17 kills. Keaton Arutian and Nick Shoemate split the setting duties, handing out 26 and 20 assists, respectively. Defensively, Jamal Balkhi recorded 12 digs and Nolan Forghani had a pair of solo stops at the net. He and Shoemate each had four block assists as well.
UCSC def. CLU 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-19):
The nightcap pitted CLU against host UC Santa Cruz for the third time this season. Shoemate dished out 16 assists in a match that Robert Rutecki led the offense with nine kills. Nicholas Oertli was 5-for-7 without an error for a .714 hitting percentage against the Slugs tonight. Rutecki was also responsible for the only ace of the match for Cal Lutheran. Forghani added another solo block and Oertli added six block assists to pace the Violet and Gold. Balkhi again led the way for digs with eight.
Notables: The Kingsmen played to a fifth set for the eighth time this spring today. CLU and UCSC met three times on the court this season with the Banana Slugs stealing all three.
Next Up: Cal Lutheran (4-18) returns to the Gilbert Arena for the final time of the spring on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. Prior to the match a trio of seniors will be recognized and CLU will also be partnering with Cancer Fit, Inc. for Childhood Cancer Awareness Night.