UC MERCED, CA – The University of California Merced men’s volleyball team couldn’t make it two straight victories Monday afternoon when they traveled to Hope International University. The Bobcats fought valiantly, but ultimately came up short in both matches of the double-header, falling 3-0 and 3-1.
The Bobcats got better as match one progressed, hitting .200 in the second set, then .400 in the third.
Jacob Shelton had his strongest game of the season in the loss, recording seven kills and a .333 hitting percentage. He also added two block assists and two service aces.
While the Bobcats fell 25-11 in game one, with their improved hitting percentage came improved results, as they jumped to 19 points and 16 points in sets two and three.
UC Merced carried some of that momentum into match number two. Although they fell again, they were able to take set three in extra points, 29-27.
Shelton and Samuel Hala’ufia carried the team in the second match, combining for 21 kills between the two of them, and each hitting over .290. Hala’ufia was absolutely dominant at the net too, notching a monstrous nine block assists and three solo blocks.
Defense at the net, as head coach David Noble mentioned after the team’s win Saturday afternoon, is something the team focuses on. It worked in match two, as the team managed 23 block assists and five solo blocks in the defeat.
Daniel Sabzehzar had one of his stronger outings of the season, recording eight kills, six digs, and six block assists. Matt Pelfini also rediscovered his form from the other day’s victory, handing out 35 assists, nine digs, and a service ace.
The Bobcats come home February 21st for a matchup against Holy Names University, whom they beat in their last meeting. This one will start at 4:00 PM, and will also be a “Pack the House” event with free t-shirts, pizza, and prizes.