Kingsmen Volleyball lose on opening day of Cal Lutheran Invitational against North Central


Photo by Ysabella Gonzalez - Reporter

With an 11-6 record after 17 games, this marks the Kingsmen’s best start to a season since 2018.

Ysabella Gonzalez, Reporter

The California Lutheran University Kingsmen volleyball team fell to the North Central Cardinals 1-3 on day one of the Cal Lutheran invitational tournament. 

The Kingsmen had 43 kills, 16 digs and 104 team attacks. Leading the defense was graduate outside hitter Sean Fitzpatrick with six digs and heading offense was junior outside hitter Ben Weber with 11 kills.

It started off pretty well. There was a good fight from us, but mentally we were on a wave of ups and downs. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we have a couple chances to bounce back,” Weber said. 

The Kingsmen started the match strong, wracking up 15 kills and 25 team attacks in the first set to take the lead 26-24.

“The boys started off pretty good and it seemed like they were going to control the ball well enough to get the job done, and, unfortunately, there was just a little more work to be done and we didn’t get it done. We let it slip away from us,” Head Coach Kevin Judd said. 

Following the loss in the first set, the Cardinals charged back to claim the next three sets and win the game. The scores of the sets were: 25-12, 25-18 and 25-17. The Kingsmen managed five kills and 25 team attacks in the second set. In the third set, they had 13 kills and 27 team attacks. 

In the fourth and final set, the Kingsmen ended with 10 kills and 27 team attacks. However, the Kingsmen weren’t dismayed at the loss since the Cardinals are the No. 11 nationally ranked team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. 

“We have to come together more as a team, especially against top-ranked opponents,” sophomore setter Taylor Marks said. 

Moving forward, Marks said he wants to help the team improve their spirits on the court, especially since he says he sees them drop their heads often.

“Being more of a leader, as a setter and kind of being more of a quarterback of the team, trying to fix that team morale,” Marks said. 

Weber also said that their mindset needs some work, but that tomorrow is a new day for the team to prove themselves. 

“I think the mentality on the court needs to change a little bit. We have to look to each other, to lift each other up, have energy on the court, and support each other,” Weber said. 

Moving forward, Judd doesn’t want his team to focus too much on this loss. 

“Forgetting about it. We have another match tomorrow night and I told the boys, ‘don’t think about this game tonight.’ I gave them some homework, to watch it, learn from it and move on. Learn from it, but don’t dwell on it any more than we need to,” Judd said.

Judd is trying to have the Kingsmen focus on keeping their morale up since it is only the first game of the invitational and they will have more chances to prove themselves as the tournament and season go on. 

“We need to turn it around. We need to step it up and forget about tonight and move forward,” Judd said.

The Kingsmen did indeed turn it around, as they claimed 3-1, 3-0 and 3-0 victories in the remaining games of the Cal Lutheran invitational tournament. The first of the Kingsmen’s two 3-0 sweeps on the third and final day of the tournament was against North Central, avenging their loss on opening day.

Cal Lutheran’s next home game in Gilbert Arena is against Hope International on Saturday, March 11 at 6 p.m.