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Gulvin hits .857 in season-opening win over Cal Lutheran

Gulvin hits .857 in season-opening win over Cal Lutheran

Middle blocker Robert Gulvin had a spectacular match on Wednesday night with 12 kills and an .857 hitting percentage as SBCC knocked off Cal Lutheran 3-1 in its men's volleyball opener at the Sports Pavilion. The scores were 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-14.

Cal Lutheran, a four-year school in Thousand Oaks. is playing its first year of NCAA Div. 3 men's volleyball. The Kingsmen are 0-9 on the year and the Vaqueros were their first two-year Community College opponent.

Gulvin pounded 12 kills in 14 attempts with no errors. The 6-foot-5 sophomore had three kills in the early part of the fourth set and an ace by setter Kyle Smiley gave the Vaqueros an 8-4 advantage. They stretched it to 20-11 with an 8-2 run, capped by a kill from the 10-foot line by Haward Gomes.

"I was pretty raw last year and I didn't have much experience in volleyball," said Gulvin, a former Dos Pueblos High star who played two years of football for the Vaqueros. "I got a lot more reps this year and I've put in a lot of hours of practice. Our passing was really good today and that leads to great hitting opportunities."

Gulvin had a handful of kills that were too hot to handle and drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.

"Those feel great and it's fun when all my teammates get excited for me," he said. "This is the first time we've beaten a four-year school since coach has been here."

Gomes, Jackson Wopat and Taylor McCluskey had eight kills each. Jarrod Jordan had five blocks and Wopat added four. Smiley handed out 33 assists with nine digs, five kills in six attempts (.833) and three blocks.

"We were pretty terrible in the first set," said third-year head coach Matt Jones. "I thought we had a lot of nerves. Only one or two guys looked comfortable on the court. I guess that's to be expected because we have a lot of new faces and new starters.

"I reminded them that this is their home court, this is where they every day and this is where they should be the most comfortable. We got more and more as the match went on and the scores reflected that."

Hunter Horn, another ex-football player, led the Kingsmen with 14 kills and Robert Rutecki had 10. Keaton Arutian, who set for the Vaqueros last year, had 39 assists.

The Vaqueros took leads of 7-2 and 18-11 in the second set, the third set was close throughout and they led 8-4, 14-9 and 20-11 in the fourth set. Wopat scored the 25th point with a sizzling spike in the second set, a Cal Lutheran hitting error ended the third and a Gulvin kill and an ace from Wopat capped off the match in the fourth set.

Santa Barbara hit .407 in the final set and .243 for the match.

"Robert had some great swings, he was on time and Smiley was getting him the ball in the right spots and seeing the block well," noted Jones. "If he can hit 12-of-14 all year, we'll be pretty good."

The Vaqueros host Orange Coast, a Final Four team from last year, on Saturday in a rare day game. First serve is at 1 p.m.