ATHERTON, Calif. -- The Siena Heights men's volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to UC Merced before Life (Ga.) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 win from the Saints in the second match. Bryce Johnson (Pickerington, Ohio) totaled 33 kills 19 digs to lead the Saints on the day.
Final Scores: UC Merced 3, Siena Heights 1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 25-15) / Life (Ga.) def. Siena Heights, 3-2 (18-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 21-19)
Location: Atherton, California
Record: Siena Heights (2-4)
HOW IT HAPPENED
UC Merced def. Siena Heights, 3-1
UC Merced hit a dominating .571 in the opening set to build a 20-9 lead off a 5-0 run. The Bobcats achieved the 1-0 advantage with a 25-12 set-one win.
UC Merced went cold in the second set, hitting only .024. Two kills by Johnson and three Bobcat attack errors gave the Saints a 7-2 lead and forced a timeout by UC Merced. The Bobcats cut the Siena Heights advantage to two points but were not able to catch the Saints before they were awarded the 25-19 decision to tie the score 1-1.
The score was tied four times, the final time at nine. A 6-0 run sparked by Jacob Semon gave the Bobcats an 18-11 edge. The Saints got as close as five points, but UC Merced took a 2-1 lead with a 25-18 win.
What turned out to be the final set of the match was all Bobcats as they outpaced Siena to a 25-15 win in the fourth. UC Merced hit .417 and never trailed in the set to take the 3-1 victory.
Life (Ga.) def. Siena Heights, 3-2
The Saints scored 12 of the first 13 points of the match. Life was able to cut the deficit to six points, but Siena would take a 1-0 lead.
The second set was closer than the first as the teams tied eight times during the game. The Saints were able to build a 24-17 lead before a 4-0 run by the Running Eagles helped cut the deficit to three. The Saints then tallied the final point of the set and took a 2-0 lead.
Life used a 5-0 run to jump ahead 11-8 in the third set before nabbing a 25-20 decision and put the score at 2-1.
Siena Heights constructed a 7-2 lead int he fourth, but a 7-0 run by the Running Eagles gave them a 14-12 lead. Smaller spurts of points helped build a 23-18 edge for Life before they forced a fifth set with a 25-21 nod.
SHU rattled off four-straight points to tie the fifth set at 10 to force a Running Eagle timeout. Two points by life put things at 12-10 before the Saints scored three points to go ahead by one. The teams traded points to a tie at 19 points. An attack error by Alex Garavalia (Kouts, Ind.) and a kill ended the match with a win for Life.
• Johnson led the Saints with 17 kills against UC Merced before finishing his day with a 16-kill, 12-dig performance against Life to record a double-double in the match.
• Keegan Crawford (Columbus, Ohio) paced the Siena Heights attack with 36 assists in the first match and 45 in the second. He also contributed defensively with eight digs in both matches for a total of 16.
• Emilier De Jesus (Chesterton, Ind.) finished with a match-high 21 digs against the Bobcats.
• Kevin Gomez (La Estrella, Colombia) and Evan Cashen (St. Joseph, Mich.) each finished the second match with a double-double. Gomez attaining his with 11 kills and digs while Cashen earned his with 11 kills and 20 digs.
• UC Merced: Trevor Jurlina, 12 kills; Ryan Steele, 37 assists; Chris Morikawa 15 digs
• Life (Ga.): Alex Gonzalez, 24 kills; Allain Larroche, 42 assists; Javier De leon, 14 digs.
Siena Heights will wrap up the trip to California tomorrow with a match against Hope International at 2:00 p.m. and a 6:00 p.m., match against host Menlo. Both match times are EST.