The Gauchos lost their fourth straight match on Friday night, falling to the UC San Diego Tritons by a score of 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24). UCSB moves to 5-13, with a 3-11 conference mark. UC San Diego improved to 4-17, 2-13 but remain in last place in the MPSF.
The Gauchos came out roaring in the first game, hitting .542 for the game. Freshman outside hitter Kevin Donohue picked up five of his 15 kills in the first game, pacing the UCSB attack. UCSB was able to pull away when they were down 9-8, as junior outside hitter Miles Evans led a five-point rally from the service line.
Up 13-8, the Gauchos would trade points the rest of the way and take the set 25-19.
That game victory would be the high point for the Gauchos however, as they would drop the next three sets to the Tritons. As a team, UCSB hit .276 or lower in each set, including a -.091 clip in the second game. The Gauchos never held a lead in the second or third games.
Down 24-21 in the decisive fourth game, UCSB was able to fight back and tie the score 24-24 after an Evans Kill and back-to-back blocks, both of which sophomore middle blocker Evan Licht was a part of. That momentum could not lead them to victory however, as a Vaun Lennon kill and a Fred Stahl block sealed the win for UCSD.
As a team, the Gauchos outblocked UCSD 15.0 to 13.0. Licht was the leader in blocks for UCSB, totalling seven. Junior middle blocker Dylan Davis wasn't far behind, finishing with six-two of which were solo. Licht and Miles Evans had 10 kills apiece as well.
The Tritons were led by Fred Stahl, who led his squad in both kills (13) and blocks (6). Vaun Lennon put down a dozen kills as well.
UCSB Head Coach Rick McLaughlin offered a concise assessment of his team's performance- "We didn't have what it takes to win tonight. [UC San Diego] was the better team all night tonight."
Next week, the Gauchos will finish up their five-match homestand by hosting Pepperdine and USC. Tickets for both those matches, and all remaining home matches this season can be found here.