The Jekyll and Hyde season of the UCSB men’s volleyball team continued this past weekend against BYU.
The # 14 Gauchos split this weekend’s matches with BYU, falling to the #4 team in the nation Friday night at The Rob in three straight games, 30-26, 30-24, 30-24. Santa Barbara enacted its revenge the following night, sweeping the Cougars 30-27, 30-27, 30-22.
“We served tough and sided out at a high rate,” senior outside hitter Keith Busam said. “We still need to correct some of the mistakes we are making but as a whole we are pleased with the win, it gives us confidence.”
Senior outside hitter Rafael Paal led the Cougars in the first match, with 13 kills and a .600 hitting percentage. Outside hitters, senior Jaime Mayol and junior Jonathan Alleman added 12 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Michael Burke keyed the Cougars defense, totaling five blocks on the night. BYU out-blocked Santa Barbara 10-5, as well as out-hitting the Gauchos .466 to .308.
Busam, along with sophomores outside hitter Matt Boelk and middle blocker Michael Kennedy, led UCSB with nine kills on the night. Busam also led the Gauchos with five digs. Santa Barbara fell victim to 17 hitting errors and an inability to stop the Cougars attack in the first match.
Santa Barbara (5-10, 2-7) returned the favor to the Cougars the following night, coasting to victory in three games. Busam recorded a match- high 15 kills to lead the Gauchos. Senior outsider hitter Jan Carlo Zegarra and Boelk added 11 kills. Boelk had a .769 hitting percentage for the match. Freshman setter Bart Kowalski had 39 assists in the match, along with one kill. Junior middle blocker Justin Adams led the way on defense for the Gauchos, picking up five total blocks, three solo blocks and four digs, all match highs. Santa Barbara out hit BYU .467 to .297 for the match, as both teams tied in blocks at 6.5.
“Jan Carlo came in and played exceptional,” Busam said. “Having another senior on the court gave us experience and that helped out a lot.”
The loss snapped the Cougars (8-2) six game winning streak as BYU struggled throughout the second match. Alleman lead the Cougars with nine kills at a mere .176 hitting percentage. BYU could only manage a .045 hitting percentage in the third game, as the Gauchos finished off their second Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win of the year.
“[BYU] didn’t have an off night,” Busam said. “We just made them make mistakes they don’t normally make.”
Santa Barbara climbed to 10th in the MPSF with the win and follows ninth place UCLA by only a game. The Gauchos host UCLA this Wednesday at Rob Gym.