The road has not been kind to the UCSB men’s volleyball team.
In their first trip away from their home court, the #5 Gauchos lost their 3-2 to #8 Stanford Friday night.
Santa Barbara has played two other five-game matches this season but came out victorious. However, the Gauchos could not pull a victory at the Cardinals’ Maples Pavilion .
“We were in a position to win, and that’s what you’d like to have,” Head Coach Kenny Preston said. “I thought under some adverse conditions we played very well.”
UCSB (5-4 overall, 2-3 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) took games one and four with scores of 30-28 and 30-19, respectively. Stanford (5-4 overall, 3-3 in MPSF) pulled through in games two, three and five with scores of 30-25, 30-28 and 16-14, respectively.
Six Stanford service errors aided the Gauchos in game one, but the Cardinals bounced back in the second game when sophomore outside hitter Ben Reddy recorded five kills to secure the game for Stanford.
The Cardinals jumped to an early 10-4 lead early in game three and did not give it up, even when a kill from sophomore opposite Evan Patak tied the score at 15. Consecutive service aces by Reddy gave the Cardinals a 29-28 advantage, setting junior outside hitter David Vogel up for a game-ending kill.
Game four saw an impressive Gaucho comeback as UCSB hit .306 to the Cardinals’ .023.
Game five was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, but Stanford was able to capitalize on Gaucho hitting errors and record back-to-back kills to secure the game and the match for the Cardinals.
Patak came back from a poor performance the night before at Pacific to record a game-high 23 kills. However, senior middle blocker Justin Adams led the Gauchos with a .471 hitting percentage on the night. Junior middle blocker Michael Kennedy recorded 12 kills and a game-high 11 blocks.
“Michael Kennedy had an excellent night,” Preston said. “It was one of his better matches of the year, if not career.”
Freshman outside hitter Jake Weins hit .200 and recorded 13 kills in addition to seven kills and blocks.
“Weins had a good road trip,” Preston said.
Despite the loss, Preston said he feels that Santa Barbara made a good showing.
“We blocked well and sided out okay. We beat them in many aspects of the game, but we just lost,” Preston said. “There were just a couple plays at critical times that were out of our control that kind of dictated the match.”
However, the trip proved to be a good learning experience for the young Gauchos.
“There were things that affected us on the road that shouldn’t have, and we have to be better prepared on the road,” Preston said. “You have to score three more points on the road than you do at home.”