The UC San Diego men’s volleyball team rolled into Rob Gym hoping for an upset, but instead was sent home upset, as #3 UCSB won in three games.
The Gauchos (11-3 overall, 9-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) defeated UC San Diego (4-8, 1-7 MPSF) in quick sets of 30-21, 30-19 and 30-27.
“We rolled through them in the first two games, and the only time they scored points was off of our errors,” junior outside hitter Michael Fisher said. “We totally out-hit them and served them off the court.”
The Gauchos were in the lead for all of game one, with the largest lead coming at 26-15. The Gauchos out-hit the Tritons .533 to .241. In game two, it was back and forth for the beginning of the set, until UCSB took the lead at 15-14 and never relinquished it. The largest Gaucho lead was at 23-18, thanks to an ace by junior middle blocker Theo Brunner. In game three, the Tritons fought back, holding the lead for the majority of the game. The largest San Diego lead was 14-9. At 19-19, the Gauchos took the lead, then promptly gave it away on the next play on a service error. This would continue until the score held close at 27-26. Then the Gauchos went on a 3-1 run to end the final set at 30-27.
“The third game, we had some trouble.” Fisher said. “We missed our serves. We also mixed up the chemistry in the third game, and things then get mixed up.”
Offensively, the Gauchos had two players in double-digit kill totals and another one kill away. National and MPSF player of the week, senior opposite Evan Patak led all players with 18 kills. Senior outside hitter Aaron Richman was right behind with 11 kills and senior middle blocker David Kennedy rounded out the top three offensive producers with nine kills. As a team, the Gauchos finished with 11 aces, with Patak again leading the squad with seven.
For the Tritons, freshman libero Will Ehrman led with 10 kills. Freshman outside hitter Jason Spangler led in his hitting accuracy, with a .750 percentage. No Tritons had any service aces, but UCSD collectively posted eight service errors.
The Gauchos next welcome #13 Long Beach State for a game slated for Saturday at 7 p.m. in Rob Gym. UCSB will look to preserve its three-game win streak, while facing the 49ers (6-5, 3-4 MPSF). The Gauchos defeated the 49ers in Long Beach in three games earlier in the season.
“[Long Beach] are a little different [from UC San Diego], but we defeated Long Beach in a similar fashion because we served them off the court,” Fisher said.