Away from the comfort of Rob Gym for the first time this season, the UCSB men’s volleyball team fell to University of the Pacific 3-1 in Stockton last night.
“We didn’t play a very good match,” Head Coach Kenny Preston said. “They outplayed us.”
At the net, UCSB (5-3 overall, 2-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) showed its blocking strength with 14 total team blocks, whereas the Tigers had only six. Junior middle blocker Michael Kennedy and sophomore opposite Evan Patak led the Gauchos in blocks with six and seven, respectively, but that was not enough to stop Pacific junior opposite Brian Zodrow, who finished the night with a match-high 20 kills.
“We couldn’t stop him,” Preston said. “We weren’t in a very good spot on him blocking.”
Pacific dominated on offense and in the back row, hitting .273 on the night and recording 46 team digs. Junior libero Mike Gawlik had 13 digs for the Tigers.
“They dug way more balls than we did,” Preston said. “Their libero was very good.”
Although the Gauchos have been serving consistent matches in recent weeks, 17 errors were made at the service line against the Tigers. While UCSB had four service aces, they gave up twice as many to Pacific.
“We didn’t serve an exceptionally good match,” Preston said.
Offensively, freshman outside hitter Jake Wiens led Santa Barbara with 17 kills, hitting .344 on the night. Kennedy hit .462. However, all other regular attackers hit below .200 in Stockton.
“We weren’t in very good rhythm offensively,” Preston said. “Our outside hitters weren’t very good, and we’re not going to win a whole lot of games with one middle and one outside.”
With a host of top-ten teams in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Gauchos will have to improve their game to hang with the top.
“I don’t think we can find the major answer right away. We’re still a very young squad,” Preston said. “I think we can try to get a little steadier offensively. We can start by keeping the ball in play a little more.”
Santa Barbara will travel to the Stanford Maples Pavilion to take on the Cardinals at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.
“Stanford is a good team,” Preston said. “It’s going to be hard to bounce back, but if we can come out with a split, it will have been a good road trip.”