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Vaqueros drop opener at UC Santa Cruz

Taylor McCluskey, left, and To'o To'o combine for a block in Friday's season opener.
Taylor McCluskey, left, and To'o To'o combine for a block in Friday's season opener.

UC Santa Cruz hit .346 and .500 in the first two sets on Friday night and went on to sweep SBCC 25-18, 25-17, 26-24, spoiling the Vaqueros' season opener.

Taylor McCluskey had 10 digs and three solo blocks in his first collegiate match for the visiting Vaqueros. Sean Reynaert added seven kills and hit .308. Keaton Arutian, a freshman setter from Dos Pueblos High, had 24 assists and six digs. Reynaert and Casey Alper also had six digs.

It was the seventh match of the year for the NCAA Div. 3 Banana Slugs (5-2). Jake Landel led UCSC with eight kills and seven digs. Jorge Reyes had seven kills and hit .500.

"Every one of their guys jump served and it got us out of system in the first two sets," said second-year SBCC coach Matt Jones. "We came around on serve receive in the third set and battled with them. We just gave up some crucial points late.

"This was a good experience for a young team with very few returners to come up and play a Div. 3 team and get battle-tested."

The Vaqueros outhit the home team .242 to .107 in the third set. Santa Cruz had the higher percentage for the match, .312 to .264.

Santa Barbara will play two matches on Saturday in the L.A. Pierce Quad at Woodland Hills, taking on San Diego City at 2 p.m. and Grossmont at 6 p.m.