Monday, 27 March 2023

NCAA Mens Volleyball

University of California, Merced – Morikawa, Bobcats Knock Off Park Gilbert in Four Sets on Senior Night

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Men’s Volleyball – Sat, Mar. 18, 2023 at 11:55 PM

MERCED, Calif. – Chris Morikawa tallied a career-high 28 kills on Senior Night to lead the University of California, Merced men’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-27, 25-17, 25-17, 25-15) win over Park University Gilbert on Saturday night inside the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium.

With the win, the Bobcats (8-12, 5-5) got back to .500 in California Pacific Conference play and kept their 2023 postseason goals alive.

Morikawa achieved his career-high 28 kills behind a .548 (28/5/42) hitting percentage. The senior’s 28 kills marked the third most in UC Merced history and the most by any Bobcat since February 15, 2018. Also of note, he is the first Bobcat to record at least 25 kills with a .500 hitting percentage or better. The Yorba Linda, Calif., added five digs and also notched a service ace for the seventh consecutive match in the final home match of his career.

Ryan Kilgore pitched in seven kills and a solo block, while Javy Larranaga was good for six kills without an error on eight attempts. Larranaga also had two blocks.

Toby Miller and Nathan Campbell quarterbacked the Bobcats offense to a .402 success rate overall with 35 and eleven assists, respectively. Miller added four kills on five attempts and four digs to his assists total.

Middle blockers Brennan Taylor and Max Niederberger posted identical stat lines with four blocks and three kills each. Half of their blocks were solo. Jared Guglielmana finished with eight digs, five kills, four assists, two solo blocks, and a block assist.

Lincoln Smith and Campbell had two service aces, while Mason Westlake scored match point with a service ace in his first career action.

Overall, UC Merced combined for 61 kills, 56 assists, 25 digs, eleven blocks, and six service aces. The Bobcats kills and blocks output marked the second highest totals of the campaign.

The night began with a Senior Night ceremony for Morikawa and he immediately followed with one of the best starts to a match in his four-year career. Albeit a 27-25 setback in the opening set, Morikawa smacked eight kills on eight swings. He would go on to record 13 consecutive kills without an error stretching into the second frame.

Head coach Ai Prachumsri‘s team never trailed in sets two-four and maintained at least a .440 hitting percentage in each frame. The Bobcats hit .467 in set two, .526 in the third set, and .444 in the final frame. Defensively, UC Merced limited Park to just 12 combined kills while…

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