OAKLAND, Calif. - The Inaugural NCAA Division III men's volleyball season at Cal Lutheran came to a close this weekend as the Kingsmen played two matches in Northern California. On Friday, CLU faced UC Santa Cruz for the fourth time of the season and on Saturday, the season wrapped up with a victory against NCAA Division II Holy Names.
UCSC def. CLU 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-23):
On Friday, CLU and UCSC met for the fourth time of the season and the teams battled to four sets. Nick Shoemate earned the start and set the ball for 28 assists and 11 digs for a double-double while hitting .400 for the Kingsmen. Justin Kam led the way with nine kills and both Kristian Gallardo and Hunter Horn put down eight. Gallardo also notched two of the three service aces in the match. Defensively, Nicholas Oertli tallied the only solo block of the match and added a team-leading six block assists. Kam and Michael Campbell recorded five block assists apiece and CLU teamed up for a total of 23. The Kingsmen hitting improved in each set against the Banana Slugs.
CLU def. HNU 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21):
The season finale was a memorable one. Shoemate produced his second straight double-double with 45 assists and 15 digs. Mikey Esper had a double-double of his own with a match-high 16 kills and 11 digs. He and Jordan Castro added a pair of service aces, a solo block and three block assists apiece. Oertli also had three block assists in the win. At the service line, CLU teamed up for six aces. The Kingsmen hit at a .239 clip in the match and totaled 55 kills.
Notables: The Kingsmen wrap up their Inaugural NCAA Division III season on a high note with the win. Horn, Oertli and Jamal Balkhi each played in all 30 matches during the spring. Horn finished with a team-leading 317 kills and five players surpassed 100 kills. Keaton Arutian led the way with 714 assists and Shoemate totaled 313. Arutian also had a team-leading 30 service aces. Balkhi and Horn notched 286 and 205 digs, respectively, and Arutian finished with 132 digs. Campbell and Oertli each had 10 solo stops this season. Oertli led the group with 81 bock assists and Campbell finished with 76. The team hit .162 and earned 13.6 points per set.
Cal Lutheran (6-24) graduates three student-athletes and will welcome back a strong core of its Inaugural team in 2017.