January 7, 2011

Grand Canyon Sweeps Santa Cruz in Season Opener

The Grand Canyon University men’s volleyball team swept the University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs 3-0 in tonight’s season opener.

This was head coach Jeremy Price’s first match as an Antelope and starting off with a win is a confidence booster. Starting three freshmen was a risky decision that paid off. “We did a lot of things right,” Price said. “I’m pleased with the way we started…we were efficient in that first set.”

The ‘Lopes dominated the first set, leading the entire game and carding a final set score 25-13. Again the ‘Lopes controlled the second set, finishing 25-19. Santa Cruz battled in the third, leading most the set. However the ‘Lopes tied it up at 21-21 and took the lead. The score was tied again at 24-24 before the ‘Lopes pulled ahead and finished strong at 26-24.

Freshman Ben Ponnet (Merchtem, Belgium/ OLVC) was the player of the game hitting .381 with 11 kills and three service aces. Freshman setter Keith Smith (Whittier, CA/ California) stepped onto the court with confidence tonight, recording 31 assists, three kills and two block assists. Junior Taylor Griffin (Tucson, AZ/ Ironwood Ridge) made late appearances in sets two and three but he made his presence known. Griffin had three kills on four attempts giving him a hitting percentage .750.

The Antelopes will face the Juniata College Eagles tomorrow at 1:00 pm and UC Santa Cruz at 7:00pm in Antelope Gymnasium. “Both teams are going to give us their maximum effort so we need to be ready to come out and play,” says Price. For schedule and results visit gculopes.com.

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