(Santa Cruz, California) The sixth ranked Rivier University Men's Volleyball team finished off their Spring Break week with three games on the west coast against Endicott College and the University of California-Santa Cruz. The "Slug Slam Classic" was hosted by the CSC Banana Slugs which featured two games against the #6 Raiders.
Game One: #8 Santa Cruz 3, #6 Rivier 0
In the opening game for Rivier, the Raiders fell to the host Banana Slugs 3-0 by scores of 27-25, 25-18 and 25-19.
Junior Chris Markuson (Cupertino, CA) laced 9 kills in his first collegiate game in his home state. Also in his first game home, senior Aaron Almario (Alhambria, CA) added 8 kills and recorded 9 total blocks – six solo. Senior Terence Matatall (Danville, NH) provided 9 kills in the three set loss. Freshman Tyler Blank (Rochester, NY) had 31 assists and senior libero Matt Bynon (Burnt Hills, NY) collected 10 digs for Rivier.
Game Two: #6 Rivier 3, Endicott 1
The second day provided better results for the #6 Raiders as they handled Endicott College, 3-1 in the first game of day.
Maruskon and Almario combined for 32 kills (16 each) over the four sets and junior Matt Tutino (Manorville, NY) added 11 kills as the Raiders racked up 62 total kills in the match while swinging at a .379 clip as a team. Almario finished the match with a .571 hitting percentage and added another four total blocks to his amazing week. Sophomore Nick Ochoa (Whittier, CA) shined defensively as he led the way with 14 digs and Blank set everything up with 42 assists. Junior Sam Kazlas (Allentown, PA) also was solid along the outside as he contributed 9 kills in the win.
Game Three: #6 Rivier 3, #8 Santa Cruz 2
The final game of the day was the best one as the #6 Raiders fought from a 2-1 deficit to win the fifth set in extras. After taking the first set 25-22, the Banana Slugs edged out Rivier with a pair of 25-20 wins before the epic fourth set. Rivier was able to outlast Santa Cruz 32-30 in that unbelievable set before capping off the day with a 16-14 fifth set victory.
Markuson was once again magnificent as he recorded the game high with 20 kills and three other Raiders reached double figures. Almario and Kazlas each hammered down 11 kills while junior Shane Spellman (Norwich, Conn.) added 10 kills. Matatall was a brick wall along the net as he totaled 16 blocks and Almario finished off his monstrous week with 13 total blocks. Blank had his career high with 50 assists and the libero combo of Bynon and Ochoa had 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Rivier will return to the East Coast and prepare to battle against Anna Maria College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest on Tuesday night before hosting Emerson College and Mount Ida College on Thursday inside the Muldoon Gymnasium.