THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— Cal Lutheran Kingsmen volleyball opened the Cal-Lu-Fornia classic with a statement win as they swept the St. John Fisher Cardinals on Wednesday night. The scored of the match were 25-19, 25-20, 25-23.
The match between the Kingsmen and Cardinals kicked off the four-day classic which features seven teams in all. With the win, CLU snapped its five game losing streak and is now 5-7 overall. The Kingsmen picked up a big win as the Cardinals dropped to 16-5.
Cal Lutheran showed their strengths early and often as they jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first set. Many Kingsmen were in on the act right away as Justin Dietrich, Patrick Rowe and Grant Nelson all recorded kills. The Cardinals tried to bounce back, but CLU kept the distance. St. John Fisher finally made it close and only trailed 21-19, but errors from the Cardinals and a kill from Rowe helped the Kingsmen win the first set at 25-19.
The second set went back and forth before Brendan Ward gave CLU a 13-10 lead as he swatted down a kill. Only up 13-12, CLU then went on a run as Mason Mercer and Andrew Reina connected on back-to-back kills and Ward served two aces. The distance and momentum was just enough as the Kingsmen won the second set 25-20 and took a 2-0 match lead.
The Violet and Gold fought through adversity in the third set as the Cardinals looked to get back in the match. With CLU up 16-15, Dasmen Stewart and Rowe tallied kills to give the Kingsmen some breathing room. Over the next little bit, the score would be tied, all the way from 19-19 to 22-22. CLU answered with the final say as Dietrich swatted down two of the final three points for the Kingsmen. CLU won the set 25-23 and took the match.
Rowe led CLU with 12 kills and a .476 hitting percentage while Dietrich had nine kills and hit .467. A trio of Kingsmen added to the kills as Reina, Stewart and Mercer each had five. Nelson and Alec Bennett moved the ball around well and dished out 20 and 13 assists, respectively.
Reina was big on the ground and recorded a team-high nine digs and Nelson, Rowe and Eli Moore each added four. Ward led CLU at the net and sent back four attacks for blocks. Dietrich, Rowe and Stewart helped him at the net and tallied two each.
The Kingsmen look to continue their superb play throughout the Cal-Lu-Fornia Classic. Cal Lutheran is right back at it tomorrow and will host Adrian on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 3, SJF 0
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director