Stockton, Calif. – Despite a slow start, the No. 11 Pacific men's volleyball team defeated UC Santa Cruz in the Alex G. Spanos Center on Friday, February 1. The Tigers dropped the first game, but recovered to defeat the Banana Slugs 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-15).
Senior outside hitter Taylor Hughes paced the Tigers with 16 kills, while hitting .361 and adding four blocks.
The victory improves Pacific to 4-3 on the season, while the loss drops UC Santa Cruz to 1-4.
A sluggish start found the Tigers in an early 1-0 match hole after dropping the first set 25-21. Pacific had seven service errors and six attacking errors in the set. Hughes and senior Christian Ahlin notched three and two kills, respectively, in the game. Ahlin also added a team-best two blocks in the set. Ahlin finished the match with a match-best six blocks. Freshman setter Marco Grasso racked up eight assists of his 39 in the frame.
Pacific and UC Santa Cruz traded points in the second game until the 20-all mark before the Tigers could gain the upper hand. The Orange and Black went on to win the game 25-20 behind Hughes' seven kills on 13 swings to hit .385. Junior libero Javier Caceres had a set-best five digs in the game.
In set three, the Tigers and Banana Slugs played to a 24-all draw before Pacific edged out the set victory with back-to-back kills from Adam Troy and Hughes. Troy led Pacific in the game with six kills on 15 attacks. Grasso added another 11 assists to go with eight digs in the game. Freshman Tommy Carmody added three kills on seven attacks for the Tigers' offense.
Pacific controlled all of game four en route to a 25-15 set victory. Senior outside hitter Matthew Houlihan added four of his seven total kills in the set. Troy added three kills, while Grasso and Hughes each added a pair of kills in the final set.
Leading UC Santa Cruz in the match was Salvatore La Cavera III with 14 kills and 11 digs.
Pacific finished the match with three players collecting double-digit digs with Grasso adding 15, Caceres totaling 12 and Houlihan adding 12 digs.
Up next for the Tigers is a pair of MPSF matches against UC San Diego and UC Irvine next weekend in the Alex G. Spanos Center.