Men’s Volleyball – Sun, Mar. 5, 2023 at 7:50 AM
CHANDLER, Ariz. – The University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team fell in straight sets to third-ranked Benedictine University Mesa on Saturday night, 3-0 (25-21, 25-9, 25-13).
Chris Morikawa led the Bobcats (6-8, 3-2) with six kills and a service ace. Ryan Kilgore added five kills and four digs, while Toby Miller finished with 16 assists and a solo block.
Other individual notables include five digs from Kaikoa Soma, four kills from Jared Guglielmana, and a service ace from Nathan Campbell. Jozef Lingenfelter had three kills on five swings without an error.
BenU Mesa was led by reigning Cal Pac Player of the Year and NAIA First Team All-American Landon Fuller. The senior tallied ten kills on a .500 hitting percentage and three service aces.
UC Merced managed to stay close in the first set with a .267 hitting percentage, which was more than 150 ticks higher than the Redhawks. Head coach Ai Prachumsri‘s team led by three points on multiple occasions, including as late as the 12-9 mark. The two teams were tied 15-15 before the Redhawks grabbed a lead they never relinquished. The Bobcats were within a point at 22-21, but BenU Mesa won the next three rallies to win the opening set.
UC Merced was unable to string together any consistent strong stretches in the second set and fell behind by double figures as early as the 15-5 mark.
In the third set, the Bobcats led 4-3 but then BenU Mesa countered with an 8-0 run to create the initial separation. Later on, the Bobcats were within six points at 18-12 before BenU ended the frame on a match-ending 7-1 run to complete the sweep.
Looking ahead, UC Merced will play Park University Gilbert at 11:00am at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Ariz.
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