Grand Canyon Drops Two to Santa Cruz, Juniata

The Grand Canyon University men’s volleyball team faced the Juniata Eagles and the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs today and dropped both matches at Antelope Gymnasium.

GCU went head-to-head with head coach Jeremy Price’s former team, Juniata College. He coached for the Eagles from 2006-10 before coming to Canyon. The ‘Lopes battled through the entire match but couldn’t pull out a win, dropping all three sets to lose 0-3 (20-25, 21-25, 21-25). The Eagles dominated the first set with a .476 hitting percentage versus GCU’s .148. In the second set, the teams were even at .000 hitting percentages and the ‘Lopes led in kills by two but were unable to out block the opponent, resulting in a 21-25 loss. The third set was a battle for both teams before Juniata pulled ahead and took the match.

Junior Ed Ricker (Waukegan, IL/Waukegan, Quincy) and freshman Ben Hunt (Huntington Beach, CA/Servite) led the team with 8 kills each. Sophomore libero Trent Bruns (Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo) led the defense with 8 digs and freshman Ben Ponnet (Merchtem, Belgium/OLVC) stepped up his back row game to contribute 7 digs.

 
Grand Canyon faced UC Santa Cruz for the second time this weekend to split the two game series. GCU defeated the Banana Slugs last night 0-3 and Santa Cruz came back with a vengeance to win this evening’s contest 1-4. The ‘Lopes came out strong in the first set but Santa Cruz battled before GCU was able to pull out at 25-23 win. The Banana Slugs took sets two and three, 14-25 and 21-25. The fourth and final set was a fight with four lead changes and 10 tie scores. In the end it was UC Santa Cruz who came out with a 22-25 win.

Despite the loss freshman Ponnet and Hunt dominated with double digit kills, 16 and 12 respectively. Again Bruns and Ponnet led the defense with 23 total digs combined. Ricker and Taylor Griffin (Tucson, AZ/Ironwood Ridge) worked the pin with 15 kills between the two of them.

Grand Canyon will complete the weekend series tomorrow at 2:00 pm against the Juniata College Eagles in Antelope Gymnasium.

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