MILWAUKEE – The MSOE men's volleyball team fell in a hard-fought match with No. 4 UC-Santa Cruz, 33-31, 27-25, 13-25, 25-18, Sunday morning at the Kern Center.
The Raiders (5-4) pushed the visiting Banana Slugs (8-2) to extra point in each of the first two sets, but could not get over the hump until claiming a decisive win in the third set.
Riley Rutan led UCSU with 16 kills and Lake Merchen had 15.
In the first set, the score was tight throughout as neither team could pull away. The Banana Slugs fended off the first of nine set points in the frame with the Red & White ahead 24-23. The visitors then fended off six more Raider set points before scoring the final three points of the set.
UCSC got off to a quick 6-1 lead in the second set, pulling ahead by as many as six. MSOE pulled close with a 6-1 run and later rattled off three-straight points for a 21-20 lead. Santa Cruz rebounded with four-straight points for set point at 24-21. The Raiders evaded three-straight set points to knot the frame at 24-24. The teams traded set points before the visitors scored the final two points.
MSOE limited UCSC to .074 attacking in pulling a game back in the match. It opened with an 8-3 lead and used a 7-1 later to open a 20-11 advantage before closing out the set to make it 2-1 in the match.
The Banana Slugs got off on the lead foot in the fourth set, scoring in the first five points and never looking back. Each time the Raiders put together back-to-back points, UCSC would answer. It was 21-18 late when Santa Cruz finished the match off with four-straight points.
The Red & White hit .196 in the match, finishing with five more kills than the visitors, 54-49, and totaling six more service aces, 9-3. UCSC had a .211 hitting percentage.
The Raiders return to the court Friday at Fontbonne.