SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The UC Santa Cruz Slugfest Tournament wrapped up with two down-to-the-wire matches for Whitman College’s volleyball team on Sunday.
The Whits opened up the day with a 3-1 loss to Whitworth, and in its final tournament game, Whitman downed Menlo College, 3-2, after falling behind 2-0 early.
Coming off of a win Saturday afternoon against Whitworth (3-1), Menlo (5-5) was looking to remain unbeaten in tournament play. However, Whitman (2-2) had other things in mind.
The Oaks jumped out to a quick two-game advantage with 25-14 and 25-13 wins.
The Whits stormed back after a quick intermission taking games three through five, 25-16, 25-22 and 15-12.
“We came out flat versus Menlo and needed to clear the Whitworth game,” Whitman coach Matt Helm said. “Once we relaxed and played together we were able to stay in system and run our offense. Our sophomores did a great job making key plays down the stretch and Breanna Mehling came in and set in the back row.”
“Shae (Kanakaole), Natalia (Zea) and (Anna) Dawson’s leadership on the court really helped keep our players focused and calm. They have so muhc experience that they get players to feed off of,” Helm continued.
Against Whitworth, Whitman sophomore, Megan Henry led the team with 12 kills, while Brooke Randall assisted six blocks. Codie Conching led the Whits with 16 digs and Miranda Taylor’s four service aces were a match high. Kanakaole and Zea combined for 13 kills, six blocks and four service aces in the early session Sunday afternoon.
“I am overall happy with the way we competed,” Helm said of the tournament. “I (felt) we had a good chance to be successful with all the teams in this tournament.”
Kanakaole was named to the 2016 Slugfest All-tournament First Team and sophomore Megan Henry was named to the 2016 Slugfest All-tournament Second Team. Kanakaole totaled 32 kills, five assists, 41 digs and four blocks. Henry had a team high 36 kills along with seven service aces and nine block assists.
Whitman continues preseason play next weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the 2016 Molten Colorado College Invitational hosted by Colorado College.