The Gauchos were defeated in straight sets for the second time in as many matches on Wednesday night, falling to the USC Trojans by game scores of 25-16, 25-14, 25-21. Having lost four straight matches, UCSB now sits at 2-6, with a winless 0-4 record in conference play. USC improved to 5-3, 4-3.
The Gauchos were paced by junior outside hitter Miles Evans, who led the team with 10 kills. It was the seventh time in eight matches that the Santa Barbara City College transfer has recorded 10 or more kills.
UCSB Head Coach Rick McLaughlin employed a diverse lineup as he tried to get attacks past the Trojans blockers. Freshman opposite Chris Hartig made the biggest splash, registering four kills on five attacks in just one game of action. All in all, a season-high 11 Gauchos saw playing time.
UCSB hit .000 or lower as a team in two of three sets, and their 47 total points was their lowest mark of the season up to this point. Hartig and sophomore middle blocker Ryan Thompson teamed up for the Gauchos only block, while USC racked up 13.5 over the match.
Reflecting their attacking problems, five Gaucho players finished the night with a negative hitting percentage.
USC was led by Tony Ciarelli, who had a match 11 kills, and Robert Feathers, who picked up an impressive 10 blocks.
The Gauchos will visit Pepperdine on Friday night still in search of their first conference victory. They next play at home on Friday, Feb. 10, when they play host to conference leaders UCLA.