Gauchos Sweep Loyola to Wrap Up UCSB asics Invitational

Dylan Davis (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Dylan Davis (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — After a tough loss to UCLA to kick off the UCSB asics Invitational, the No. 13 Gauchos rallied for a pair of impressive sweeps against MIVA opponents to end the tourney with a 2-1 record and a six set winning streak. The Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers were the Gauchos' victims on Saturday afternoon, falling by a score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-20).

Loyola, who entered the match with a No. 10 national ranking, ended the tournament with an 0-3 record. Freshman outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke had a respectable performance with 12 kills, but the rest of the Ramblers struggled to play well consistently. Junior libero Peter Jasaitis was busy, leading all players with 10 digs.

Sophomore opposite Matt Marsh led the offense for the Gauchos, pacing all players with 17 kills and 29 swings. Marsh was especially impressive early in the match, as he put down eight kills on a .636 hitting percentage in the first frame and added another six kills in the second. Matt's offensive exploits set the tone for UCSB, resulting in a .548 team hitting percentage in the first game and an incredible 94% sideout conversion rate in the second.

Rounding out the offense, sophomore outside hitter Weston Nielsen contributed in his season debut with eight kills on 19 swings, while sophomore outside hitter Austin Kingi put down seven of his own on just 15 swings.

For the second straight match, the Gauchos exhibited a superb blocking display, racking up 12.5 blocks as a team. Senior middle blocker Dylan Davis led the way with eight total blocks (two solo, six assists), while freshman setter Andrew Kocur chipped in four blocks in his UCSB debut. Kocur also recorded 33 assists, over half of which came in a stellar 17-assist first game performance. Loyola was held to a .000 or lower hitting percentages in both the second and third games, hitting .084 overall.

"You never know what to expect in this tournament, but we're happy with the way we recovered after that first loss," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin after the win. "You can tell a difference already with this year's team, they know how to react in pressure situations, and the UCLA match was a little bit of a wake up call, so we think we'll be ready going forward."

The Gauchos start MPSF conference play next week, as they will host the Long Beach State 49ers on Wednesday night at Rob Gym. Tickets can be purchased in person at the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building or at Rob Gym on matchday.

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 Results

Championship Match: UC Irvine 3-2 UCLA
Third Place Match: Long Beach State 3-2 UC San Diego
Consolation Match: UCSB 3-0 Loyola (Chicago)
Consolation Match: Cal Baptist 3-1 Lewis

UCSB asics Invitational All-Tournament Team
Vaun Lennon - UC San Diego
Connor Olbright - Long Beach State
Dylan Davis - UC Santa Barbara
Robart Page - UCLA
Evan Mottram - UCLA
Connor Hughes - UC Irvine
MVP: Collin Mehring - UC Irvine