After a shaky start to their season, the UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball team has seemed to turn the tables, winning 4 of their last 5 games. 

Their season started with back-to-back games against USC in which they dropped 3-2 then 3-1 the following day. 

In the first match, UCSB won the first and third set easily, while losing the second and fourth sets by narrow margins — 3 and 2 points, respectively. However, in the last set, they were beaten soundly 15-8.

The following match with USC was more separated between the two. Although the Gauchos won the first set by 5 points, USC answered with a reverse sweep winning the game 3-1. 

UCSB won the next match versus Saint Xavier in 3 sets while on the way to getting 38 kills as opposed to 25 kills. 

The last loss of their recent stretch of games was at home to Princeton University. In this match, the Gauchos got off on the right foot, winning the first set. In the next set, they lost by 7 points, but the third set was a competitive battle going the way of Princeton 31-29. Then, they finished off the last set winning 25-13.  

At the beginning of their current 3-game winning streak, the Gauchos took on No. 4 Pepperdine. The Gauchos won this match 3-2. Although Pepperdine had 59 kills to the Gauchos’ 43 kills, the Gauchos only committed 19 errors, while Pepperdine had 30 errors. 

The Gauchos’ second consecutive win came with a sweep against Penn State, winning the first set by 12 points and the following 2 sets by a score of 25-21 in each set.

The Gauchos’ most recent victory came against the Ohio State Buckeyes. This match started with the Gauchos winning the first set by 6 points and the second set by 10 points. In the third set, the Gauchos battled the Buckeyes en route to losing the set 28-26. The fourth set went the way of the Gauchos, winning the set 25-17, and overall committing 18 errors less than the Buckeyes.

Overall, junior opposite Haotian Xia leads the Gauchos with 101.5 points and 81 kills through the first couple of games. 

Another standout player is junior middle blocker Brandon Hicks, who boasts an impressive .507 kill percentage with 69 total attempts. 

The Gauchos will look to continue their impressive win streak in a rematch versus Pepperdine on Feb. 4.

A version of this article appeared on p. 9 of the Feb. 3, 2022 print edition of the Daily Nexus.