The #6 UCSB men’s volleyball team fell to #8 in Southern California in a tight five-game match loss at North Gym in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Trojans were paced by junior All-American opposite hitter Brook Billings’ 20 kills, helping his squad snap a three-match losing streak to come out victorious, 30-22, 27-30, 30-28, 29-31, 15-12. Billings, relegated to no action for the first two games due to disciplinary reasons, hit .448 for the game.

Santa Barbara (4-3, 2-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) got off to a slow start that set the tone the rest of the match, and USC (4-3 overall and in the MPSF) took advantage of the Gauchos’ eagerness to knock their opponent out.

“We hit zero [kill percentage] in the first game, and that set the tone,” UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston said to the Santa Barbara News-Press. “We weren’t patient. We have a problem trying to use the K.O. punch in the first game, and we just make too many hitting errors.”

Junior opposite hitter Ben Koski recorded 17 kills and had five blocks for Santa Barbara. Junior outside hitter Dave Kohl had 15 kills and eight digs. Sophomore outside hitter Brian Nordberg had 10 kills and sophomore middle blocker Anders Bengstsson had 10 blocks.

USC was bolstered by the performances of senior outside hitter Eli Fairfield’s 14 kills and match-best 12 digs and sophomore middle blocker Mark Dusharme’s 13 kills. Senior outside hitter Trevor Dulian had 12 kills and sophomore middle blocker Josh Day had 10 kills for the Trojans.

Santa Barbara’s next match is against Irvine tomorrow evening at 7 in Rob Gym.

-Nexus Staff Report