The No. 11 Wells College men's volleyball team improved to 3-0 while participating in the Slug Slam Tournament at University of California Santa Cruz's Kaiser Permante Arena on Saturday, Jan. 11.
The Express needed four sets to dispose of the Kingsmen, but the morning match began and ended with set wins of 25-23 for Wells. Between the opening and ending sets, Wells went up 2-0 with a 25-21 second-set win and dropped its only set of the match in the third by a 25-15 score.
The opening set started slowly for Wells as it took the first 21 points for Wells' first lead at 11-10. That didn't last as eight points later the Express trailed by 15-14 and the Kingsmen then built their biggest lead at three at 23-20 down the stretch. Wells scored the last five points to take the first set win with Caden O'Loughlin serving up the final four. O'Loughlin's ace got the Express back to even at 23 apiece and then Josh Undari sealed the win with a pair of kills.
The second set almost exclusively belonged to Wells after the Express trailed only once at 8-7. After a Joe Zimmerman block evened the contest at 8-8, Undari successfully served up the next five points to give Wells a 6-0 run and a 13-8 lead. The Kingsmen could only get within three the rest of the way as Wells went up 2-0 in the match.
In the third set, an O'Loughlin kill gave Wells its only lead early with the Express staying within three points through the 17th point. Cal Lutheran built a nine-point lead with a 6-0 run of its own and the hole was too deep for Wells to recover from in dropping the third set by 25-15.
The fourth set was a back and forth affair with Cal Lutheran building a three-point lead at 17-14 before Wells reversed that lead in their favor at 18-17 with a 4-0 run. The Kingsmen claimed their last lead at 19-18 as the teams tied for the final time at 21 points apiece. Wells got four of the final six points after the Express took three successive points for a 24-21 lead with O'Loughlin at the service line.
O'Loughlin led the team in kills with 17 while serving a pair of aces. Not far behind O'Loughlin in kills was Robert Patzer with 16.
The Express will conclude its California trip with a late contest against nationally-ranked UCSC on Saturday, Jan. 11 that should end sometime Sunday morning EST.