SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The eighth ranked UCSB Gauchos came back from Wednesday night's rough loss to completely redeem themselves in an epic 3-0 sweep of the CSU Northridge Matadors. Game scores at Rob Gym came out to be 25-18, 25-20, and 25-16. Says senior outside hitter Weston Nielsen, "I'm really proud of the way we played tonight. We kind of needed to step up big time, because of the way we played this past game."
Standouts for the team included junior setter Jonah Seif, who picked up four kills, 27 assists, nine digs, and one block assist. Also up there with Seif was senior opposite Kevin Donohue with 10 kills and two service aces. Junior outside hitter Spencer Buckley stepped up with four kills and nine digs, while senior Ryan Hardy led the defense with five block assists.
The Gauchos started off the first game strong, winning 25-18. Donohue led the team with four kills and a clip of 0.444. Seif, in addition to his nine assists, picked up five digs. Kills from Nielsen and Buckley brought the Gauchos to a 3-0 lead, from which point the Gauchos held the lead through the game's end. Two kills in a row from Ryan Hardy and Jonah Seif solidified UCSB's momentum at 21-15, provoking four CSUN attacking errors that handed the Gauchos the win.
UC Santa Barbara continued their high level of play in the second set with a win at 25-20. The Gauchos once again took an early lead and held onto it. Their offense was led by Buckley, Nielsen, and Donohue, each with three kills. Nielsen also racked up five digs along with freshman libero Hayden Boehle. Two kills in a row from Spencer Buckley at 12-7, and then from Seif at 20-18, kept the team in high spirits and determined to take the second win. Seif had a stellar performance in this second match, with 17 assists in addition to his two kills.
The Gauchos kept up the intensity in the third and final set with a 25-16 win. Nielsen and Donohue led the offense with five and three kills respectively. Buckley continued to prove his strength by picking up three digs of his own. For the UCSB defense, senior middle blocker Ryan Hardy put up three block assists. Sophomore Derrico Kwa came into the game for the third time tonight, and made an impression with his serving run that took his team from 17-13 to 23-13. The consistency the Gauchos displayed caused the CSUN offense to deteriorate, as they made numerous attacking errors in the final game.
UC Santa Barbara looks to keep the momentum going next Friday, March 13, when they host the UCLA Bruins at 7PM in Rob Gym.