SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The No. 8 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (11-7, 7-7) ultimately fell to the No. 10 Long Beach State 49ers (9-8, 6-8) in what proved to be quite an intense match in Rob Gym. Senior opposite Kevin Donohue led his team with a striking 18 kills and 12 digs, with Junior Jacob Delson following close behind with 10 kills and 11 digs, both players showing their versatility on offense and defense. For the 49ers, Taylor Gregory had an impressive 14 block assists and a solo stuff to boot, while Curt Stallings picked up 11 block assists himself. Not to be forgotten was 49er Bryce Yould, who yielded a .667 clip with 8 kills.
The Gauchos started off strong winning the first game at 25-23. Donohue started his night with 5 kills and 6 digs in this set, while senior outside Weston Nielsen contributed 4. Play was neck and neck the whole game, neither team taking the lead by more than 2 points at a given time. Jonah Seif had a memorable play when the LBSU defense sent a ball right to the net on their first dig, allowing Seif to bring it back down and strike up a kill. Two kills from Donohue followed by a kill from Nielsen set the score at 23-21, making way for a 49er service error followed by a hitting error that solidified the UCSB win.
UCSB started losing their groove in the second game with a 19-25 loss, largely due to middle blocker Taylor Gregory's strong presence on the Long Beach defense. When the 49ers put Edgar Palos in the game, he brought his team from 16-19 to 16-24, finally taking the win on a UCSB attacking error.
The third game was an uphill battle for the Gauchos, bringing the match to 1-2. Edgar Palos proved to be a formidable force at the service line once again. Long Beach's successful offense and defense intimidated the Gauchos, taking three attacking errors in a row from them to win the game at 23-25.
The fourth confirmed Long Beach's win, capping the match at 1-3. The game went back and forth as the Gauchos put up a tough fight; alas, it wasn't enough to stop Dan Glamack (4 kills) and Bryce Yould (3 kills) from leading their team to victory at 21-25.
The Gauchos continue their home court play against Cal State Northridge this Friday night March 6th at 7PM in Rob Gym.