Gauchos Extend Winning Streak to Three With Win Over Long Beach State

Weston Nielsen (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Weston Nielsen (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Gauchos swept their first conference match of the season on Wednesday night, winning their third straight match and ninth straight set in the process. Over 400 people watched No. 9 UCSB dominate the court against No. 6 Long Beach State in three sets. Game scores for the match went 25-17, 25-21, 25-22.

With the victory, UCSB improved its record to 3-1, while Long Beach State fell to 2-2.

Just as UCSB started every match this year, they found themselves with an early 2-0 set lead. The second set was especially impressive for sophomore Matt Marsh and sophomore Weston Nielsen, who each pounded 6 kills. Marsh ended the night with a team-high 15 kills. In just his second start of the season, Nielsen had an outstanding game, contributing 12 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Austin Kingi added 11 kills for the team. Junior Chad Kingi was all over the court, picking up 10 digs. 

The third set looked hopeful for the 49ers to make a comeback as they took an early lead. However, UCSB avoided a repeat of Friday's collape to UCLA in the opening match of the asics Invitational by wresting back momentum with the serve. Marsh and Nielsen both went on serving streaks for the Gauchos to take back the lead. The 49ers fought hard to reestablish their lead, but they ultimately fell short. After the spectacular night that Marsh had, it was only fitting that he put down the winning kill.

Undoubtedly, the UCSB's win was a team effort. Freshman setter Jonah Seif distributed the ball all over the court for a total of 47 assists. With 6 serving aces and a .398 team hitting percentage, the Gauchos dominated all facets of the match.

Head coach Rick McLaughlin commented on his team's skill, depth, and the outlook for future games. "Our setter distributed the ball well and everybody hit for a high percentage," he said after the win. "The depth is really going to help us throughout the season."

After an impressive start to the season, the Gauchos hit the road on Friday night, travelling to the Matadome to take on the Cal State Northridge Matadors.