The No. 8 UCSB men’s volleyball team played one of its best matches of the season Friday night against No. 11 UCLA as the Gauchos took down the Bruins in three sets 25-20, 25-21, 26-24.
It was the first time ever that the Gauchos had gone into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and taken down the Bruins in three straight sets and only their second time winning away from home in straight sets since 1988.
It was a big win for the Gauchos as they stay above the Bruins in the MPSF standings with their updated 4-5 conference record and 8-5 overall. The Bruins see their record go down to 2-5 in conference play and 6-5 overall.
Redshirt senior opposite Kevin Donahue continued his run of leading the Gauchos in kills with 17 on 44 swings. He added five digs and three block assists in the match. Redshirt senior outside hitter Weston Nielson added nine kills and redshirt sophomore Jacob Delson had five kills.
Junior setter Jonah Seif and middle blockers redshirt senior Jake Staahl and redshirt junior Ryan Hardy linked up well again on Friday and were dominant forces at the net. Staahl had six kills on eight swings with three block assists and Hardy had eight kills on 12 swings with three block assists.
The first set began with UCLA taking leads at 9-7 and 17-16 before the Gauchos went on a seven point run on Seif’s serve. The Gauchos took the game 25-20 on a service error by UCLA freshman outside hitter J.T. Hatch.
Taking momentum into the second game, the Gauchos took the lead on the first point and never relinquished it. The set was close throughout, but UCLA could never catch UCSB and the Gauchos took the set 25-21. UCSB had 16 kills in the set and a .481 hitting percentage to power past the Bruins.
The third set continued with the Gauchos in control as they got up to an 18-12 lead. The Bruins fought back with a five-point run to bring the game to 22-21 in favor of UCSB. UCLA couldn’t take the set to continue the match however, as after the game was tied at 24-24 UCSB got the ball to its star hitter, Donahue, and he ended the match with consecutive point ending spikes.
With consecutive wins, UCSB now looks to take momentum into its match against No. 2 USC. The Trojans are 9-2 overall and 8-2 in MPSF matches.