This weekend, the #8 UCSB men’s volleyball team swept UC San Diego in Rob Gym, as it hit a .500 clip on the night.
The Gauchos (10-9 overall, 7-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation [MPSF]) defeated the Tritons (1-16, 0-12 MPSF) efficiently 30-20, 30-20 and 31-29.
Lately the Gauchos have had trouble pulling out third-set victories, but this weekend they were able to do so, even behind a slew of new faces. Sitting out due to injury were junior outside hitter Derek Otte and junior opposite hitter Aaron Richman, who sat out with a knee condition.
“We were a whole new team out there in the third match,” UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston said. “We had enough talent out there to beat them, and that probably would have been even closer against teams like Northridge and Irvine, but San Diego can rarely do it. To pull out a win like that against them was a good team effort.”
The night started out smoothly, as junior opposite Evan Patak went on a seven-point serving run to give the Gauchos an early 11-4 lead. Patak led Santa Barbara with 19 kills on the night, behind a .654 hitting percentage. Collectively, the Gauchos connected for a .478 hitting percentage in the first set, and held San Diego to a .259 clip. Otte and Patak led all scorers in the first set, with four kills apiece and a .500 and .800 hitting clips, respectively.
“I was excited to come in tonight, because there were a lot of injuries,” Otte said. “It was nice to step in and give those guys a break.”
In the second set, Santa Barbara went back and forth with the Tritons until a 4-4 tie and was able to hold them to another 10-point deficit throughout the game. Junior outside hitter Bryan Berman stepped in for the Gauchos and notched five kills during the set, behind a .778 hitting percentage. UCSB scored five more points behind Patak’s serving again in the second match and recorded the same score as in the first set.
In the third set, Otte really stepped it up with eight kills, scoring 13 on the night.
“Otte has a great arm, he’s like a cannon for us,” Preston said. “It’s good to use him, and he’s probably going to get some more playing time for us against Lewis [University].”
Also in the third set, Preston put in senior setter Dane Jensen, sophomore middle blocker Michael Fisher and junior libero Drew Wilson who pulled out the final sweep in extra points.
UCSB will conclude its current homestand tomorrow, when it hosts Lewis University (5-8 overall) at 7:05 p.m.