Gauchos Split Pair of Matches to Open UCSB asics Invitational

Chad Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Chad Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — No. 13 UC Santa Barbara dropped a five-game contest to the No. 6 UCLA Bruins on Friday morning before sweeping the No. 5 Lewis Flyers on the first day of the UCSB asics Invitational tournament.

Despite the win, the 1-1 Gauchos will face the 0-2 Loyola Ramblers at 1:30 p.m. as part of an agreement between coaches so that Loyola and Lewis — both from the Chicago area and both in the MIVA conference — would not have to play each other as part of the tournament. Lewis and the Cal Baptist Lancers will play each other at 11:00 a.m. to start day two of the tournament.

The UCSB middles were the stars against Lewis in a three game sweep. Senior Dylan Davis led the way with seven kills, a .667 hitting percentage, and six block assists. Junior Evan Licht matched Davis's six blocks, while also recording six kills. As a team, the Gauchos racked up 11.5 blocks — compared to Lewis's 4.5 — and held their opponents to a .000 hitting percentage in the first two games. The Flyers improved a bit in the third game, hitting .097 for the game and .036 for the match.

Sophomore outside hitter Austin Kingi led the Gauchos in kills against Lewis, putting down nine on 24 swings. His brother, junior libero Chad Kingi, led all players with nine digs.

In the second game, Dylan Davis's newly unveiled jump serve earned three straight service aces. As a team, UCSB had five aces in the nightcap.

The Gauchos' fine form against Lewis was not to be found in the morning against UCLA, as the home team blew a 2-0 set lead in their first match of the season. Before the third game, UCLA head coach John Speraw made a lineup change at setter and outside hitter, a move that ultimately turned the tide of the match in the Bruins' favor.

UCLA's outside combo of Robert Page and Dane Worley combined for 30 kills and 20 digs, despite Worley playing just three games. Page's 22 kills led all players, as did his .514 hitting percentage. Freshman setter Steve O'Dell dished out 26 assists in three games.

For the Gauchos, freshman middle blocker Ryan Hardy found success with the quick attack, leading the team with 13 kills and an impressive .688 hitting percentage. Austin Kingi and senior outside hitter Miles Evans each reached double-digits with 11 kills apiece. Austin's 12 digs gave him his second career double-double.

Dylan Davis had a solid performance with nine kills and seven total blocks. In his UCSB debut, freshman setter Jonah Seif had 50 assists, nine digs, and a pair of blocks. Chad Kingi once again led all players with 13 digs.

"Against UCLA, we played well for spurts," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "But we lost some of our competitive edge as the match went on. We were able to sustain our good play against Lewis, and we should have done that against UCLA."

UCSB asics Invitational Day One Results

UC Irvine 3-0 Cal Baptist
Long Beach State 3-0 Loyola (Chicago)
UC San Diego 3-2 Lewis

UC Irvine 3-0 Long Beach State
UCLA 3-2 UC San Diego
UCSB 3-0 Lewis
Cal Baptist 3-1 Loyola (Chicago)

UCSB asics Invitational Day Two Matchups

Championship Match: UC Irvine vs. UCLA - 6:30 p.m.
Third Place Match: UC San Diego vs Long Beach State - 4:00 p.m.
Consolation Match: UCSB vs. Loyola (Chicago) - 1:30 p.m.
Consolation Match: Cal Baptist vs. Lewis - 11:00 a.m.