Behind Zyburt's match-high 15 kills Nazareth advances past UC Santa Cruz
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Nazareth defeated UC Santa Cruz in three sets in the quarterfinal match of the national tournament on Friday in the Kidera Gymnasium. The scores of the match were 25-16, 27-25, 25-22. Freshman Tim Zyburt finished with a match-high 15 kills to lead the Golden Flyers past the Banana Slugs.
With the win, Nazareth improved to 35-1 overall, while UC Santa Cruz fell to 15-8.
The Golden Flyers dominated the opening set with a .400 hitting percentage, while converting 14 kills. Zyburt and freshman Grant Levermore finished with five kills and four kills, respectively, in the first set. The Golden Flyers' defense, meanwhile, stymied the Banana Slugs as Santa Cruz finished with a .095 hitting percentage and only five kills. Nazareth combined for 12 digs in the set.
In the second set, Nazareth fell behind twice before scoring 10 of the next 14 points to claim a 23-22 lead. The Golden Flyers won the set on a kill by sophomore Luke Lawatsch. Senior Robert Kraft had three kills during Nazareth's rally. A kill by sophomore Brody Cord tied the match at 21 before Nazareth took the lead.
The Banana Slugs converted their first nine attack attempts to build their lead. Santa Cruz finished with a hitting percentage of .438 with 19 kills and five errors in the set. Nazareth recored 14 kills and four errors in the set for a hitting percentage of .312. Kraft finished with five kills in the set for the Golden Flyers. He finished the match with nine kills and one error on 13 attempts to finish with a match-high hitting percentage of .615.
In the third set, Nazareth fell behind 17-14 after the teams opened the set trading points. Following a Golden Flyers' timeout, Nazareth scored six of the next eight points to take the lead. Lawatsch, Zyburt and Levermore each had kills, while the Golden Flyers' defense forced the Banana Slugs into two attack errors. Following a kill by Zyburt that put Nazareth at match-point, Santa Cruz's Salvatore LaCavera put his attempt out of play to advance the Golden Flyers to Saturday's semifinal match.
Nazareth finished with 15 kills and four attack errors in the third set for a hitting percentage of .355. Santa Cruz had eight kills and eight hitting errors for a .000 percentage.
Levermore finished with eight kills and Lawatsch had seven kills in addition to the kills from Zyburt and Kraft. Cord and senior Alex Houghtalen each chipped in two kills. Senior EJ Wells-Spicer finished with a match-high 34 assists to direct Nazareth's attack.
LaCavera had a team-high 10 kills for the Banana Slugs while Blake Chadwick had 29 assists.