Men’s volleyball end Santa Cruz tournament with a sweep

By Farah Bassyouni Jan 27, 2023

Titans lose two on opening day at Santa Cruz on Friday, January 20th

The Illinois Wesleyan men’s volleyball team finished the weekend 1-3 at the UCSC Slug Slam Tournament in Santa Cruz, California. 

IWU’s first game was against California Lutheran University. The Titans suffered a 3-0 set loss against the Kingsmen being outscored 75-51 across the three sets.

The Kingsmen dominated the scene and outmatched the titans in kills (31-24), assists (31-21), digs (39-31), and aces (9-2). Despite the loss, junior opposite Julian Perez led the Titans with a game-high three blocks also adding in six kills. 

The Titans’ second game saw them go up against Fontbonne University. The Green and White fell short against the Griffins as they traded back-and-forth sets which culminated in a 3-2 set loss.

IWU dropped the first set and fought through adversity to win the second in a nail-biting 28-26 victory. The titans went on to drop the third and fifth set by margins of five and four respectively. 

Junior outside hitter Michael Eastman led the team offensively as he recorded 11 kills and two aces on a .346 attack percentage. Defensively, junior middle blocker Alec Mucha led the titans with a career-best 10-block game, setting the program record.

 

Titans end second day of tournament play 1-1 on Saturday, January 21st 

 

The Titans suffered defeat for the third time on the weekend getting outscored 75-46 against UC Santa Cruz in a 3-0 set blowout. 

Despite the loss, the Titans continued to show a strong defensive side as they once again had more blocks than their opponents (7-4). Eastman continued his offensive dominance as he had 6 kills and one ace while sophomore Ryan Myers added five kills of his own. 

Freshman, Jace Mika led the Titans on defense with a match-high 4 blocks while also contributing 4 kills on the offensive side. The Green and White defense were held down by junior KJ Johnson who had 6 digs of his own. 

The Titans closed out the west coast trip with a dominating three-set sweep over Edgewood College. 

IWU led in almost all of the statistical categories over the eagles on both the offensive and defensive side. 

Perez led the Titans on offense with match-high 11 kills as Eastman brought in eight of his own while also adding five aces, three of which came consecutively to close out the second set. Eastman continues to rack in the silverware after being named back-to-back team MVP. He was named to the All-Tournament team after four magnificent games posting 31 kills, 10 digs, nine aces, four blocks and three assists. 

IWU will travel up to River Forest, IL for the Concordia Invitational Tri Tournament on Friday, Jan. 27 to battle up against Adrian College before playing the hosts Concordia University Chicago. 

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