The UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball team faced off against the Pepperdine Waves on Friday night in Isla Vista. Pepperdine came into Friday’s match as the No. 6 team in the country with a 6-3 record, 3-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference matches. The host Gauchos entered the match with a 9-2 record having not played any Big West Conference games yet. This was a highly anticipated match, as both teams are having great years, and this is UCSB’s first game at home in over a month. Unfortunately for Pepperdine, UCSB would come out and play at an elite level.
Kicking things off in the first set, these teams were trading kills before Santa Barbara started to pull away. A 12-7 advantage for SB forced Pepperdine to call an early timeout. From this point on, the Gauchos would begin their dominating performance as they would eventually roll to a 25-19 set victory. Senior outside hitters Randy DeWeese and Roy McFarland led the way offensively for UCSB in this opening set, each picking up 4 kills.
In the second set, Santa Barbara jumped out to a quick 4-1 advantage. Pepperdine managed to rally back and even take the lead at 1 point, but a horrible hitting day ruined the Waves’ chances at success. The UCSB defense was dominant on Friday, holding Pepperdine to an abysmal .036 hitting percentage in that second set. Pepperdine struggled offensively for most of the match, finishing the match with only a .181 hitting percentage. Things were tied up at 21 apiece before the Gauchos scored 4 unanswered points. Santa Barbara would win this second set 25-21, securing a commanding 2-0 lead.
In the third set, Pepperdine came out and played hard with their backs against the wall. The Waves had ahold of a 20-18 lead but the Gauchos did all they could to end this one in three sets. UCSB took 7 of the game’s final 10 points, giving them a 25-23 set victory and a 3-0 sweep. Senior setter Casey McGarry had another huge performance picking up 40 assists in this game. He was spreading the wealth all night as several different Gauchos finished with double-digit kills. DeWeese led the way with 13 kills, senior opposite Keenan Sanders had 12 and McFarland had 10.
UCSB takes on Pepperdine again on Wednesday, this time in Malibu. Things are always a little more challenging on the road, so UCSB is going to have to play as they did on Friday. The game is at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the Pepperdine men’s volleyball website if you are hoping to watch. Go Gauchos!