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Men’s Volleyball Drops Four Matches in Cal-Lu-fornia Classic

Nick Irelan (photo courtesy of Lauren Gardner '25)
Nick Irelan (photo courtesy of Lauren Gardner '25)

By: Athletic Communications Intern Andrew Zimmerman '22

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Baldwin Wallace University men's volleyball team competed in a two-day four-match tournament against University of California-Santa Cruz, No. 11 nationally-ranked Wentworth (Mass.) University, and Marymount (Va.) University. The Yellow Jackets (7-14) fell in straight sets to each team inside the Soiland Arena.

Vs. UC Santa Cruz (4-12): 0-3 (15-25, 21-25, 25-27)

Vs. Wentworth (14-3): 0-3 (19-25, 15-25, 16-25)

Vs. California Lutheran (11-8): 0-3 (19-25, 16-25, 16-25)

Vs. Marymount (17-3): 0-3 (20-25, 19-25, 17-25)

Match 1 vs. UC Santa Cruz (3/11)

After the Banana Slugs claimed the first two sets, it was a battle for the third set as BW led for most of it. After having the 10-6 and 20-16 advantage in the third, UC Santa Cruz rallied to notch two in a row. The Yellow Jackets still held a 23-20 lead late, but three straight from the Banana Slugs tied the set, 23-23. BW found another one-point lead but another three straight points for UC Santa Cruz earned the Banana Slugs the set (27-25) and match (3-0) win.

BW was led in match one by sophomore outside hitter Nick Irelan (Powell/Olentangy Liberty) as he totaled seven kills on one error, eight digs, and two total blocks.

Match 1 vs. Wentworth (3/11)

Set one was anyone's game at 7-9 until the Leopards 8-3 run to make it 17-10 Wentworth, and then closing the set 25-19. The Leopards got out to the hot start in set two, earning a 13-1 lead on the Yellow Jackets. Going point-for-point the rest of the set, Wentworth claimed the game by a 25-15 score. The Leopards also got the jump in set three, earning a 20-10 lead and then closed the set, 25-16.

The Yellow Jackets were led by Irelan and freshman right side hitter Michael Devlin (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) as they each posted seven kills. Sophomore setter Brandon Long (Hinckley/Metea Valley, Ill.) dished out 21 assists.

Match 3 vs. Cal Lutheran (3/12)

BW grabbed the early lead in set one before small runs allowed Cal Lutheran to earn a 19-13 advantage and close set one, 25-20. Another few scoring runs mid-set by Cal Lutheran earned them the 20-16 lead, before going on a 5-0 run to claim set two. Cal Lutheran earned the early advantage in set three and didn't look back, claiming the set and match win.

BW (7-11) was led by sophomore outside hitter Michael Beard (Hilliard/Darby) as he posted eight kills and four digs. Irelan added five kills, five digs, and two assists. Freshman setter Evan Herbst (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) dished out a team-high 12 assists.

Match 4 vs. Marymount (3/12)

A 7-1 scoring run early, put the Saints up 11-5, forcing a BW timeout. Down 21-13, the Yellow Jackets made a quick 5-0 surge, but it wasn't enough as Marymount earned the set one win. Another 11-5 early lead in set two caused a BW timeout. Two consecutive aces by Long closed the Marymount advantage to 21-17. The Yellow Jackets weren't able to overcome the deficit, falling in set two. Two kills by freshman outside hitter Thomas Zagrobelny (East Aurora N.Y./East Aurora) and a Marymount attacking error tied set three at 13. A 6-0 scoring run for the Saints pushed them past the Yellow Jackets as they continued to rally, taking the set and match.

Irelan led BW (7-12) with six kills and two digs in the match. Zagrobelny also added five kills, two digs, and tree blocks. Long led the Yellow Jackets with nine assists and two serving aces. Freshman libero Andrew Soriano (Aurora, Ill./Benet Academy) led the team with 10 digs.

The Yellow Jackets return to action on Saturday, March 19 as they remain on the road, traveling to Alliance, Ohio to face MCVL opponent University of Mount Union. The match will start at 1:00 p.m. in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.