Maybe it was the sun or the toll of an eight-hour flight to Hawai’i that inhibited the #5 UCSB men’s volleyball team from playing up to its potential Wednesday night against #7 Hawai’i.
Whatever the reasons were, the Gauchos (3-2 overall, 1-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) did not put up much of a fight against the Warriors (6-1, 2-0) and lost in three short games, 16-30, 17-30, 24-30.
The Gauchos could not fire up their offense, hitting .000 in the first two games. UCSB managed to warm up a bit in the third game, hitting .207. However, Hawai’i was already hot, hitting .441 in the third game.
UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston varied the lineup, giving all 12 traveling players some playing time in an attempt to discover the right formula, but apparently none was found.
Leading UCSB in kills was junior outside hitter Alex Lienert with seven kills. Junior opposite hitter Ben Koski had six kills, and junior outside hitter Andy Rivera had five kills and six digs.
On the defensive side of things, the Rainbow Warriors out-blocked UCSB 13.5-1 and out-dug the Gauchos 37-33. Despite the dreary numbers, senior libero Shane Johnston played consistently for the Gauchos, notching 10 digs.
The Warriors might have won a battle, but they have not won the war. UCSB is hoping to find the right combination and turn its two-game losing streak around tonight when it avenges Hawai’i at 7.
– Brittany Langan