LA JOLLA, Calif. – Eighth-ranked UC Santa Barbara continued its hot-hitting ways on Friday night, attacking at a .340 clip in a 3-0 sweep (30-28, 25-22, 25-20) of UC San Diego that pushed the Gauchos' win streak to five straight in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener for both teams.
For the second time this season, MPSF Player of the Week candidate Matt Marsh led UCSB (5-1, 1-0 MPSF) in kills with 12. The Gauchos have now hit over .250 in four consecutive and five total matches. The Tritons dipped to 1-2, 0-1 on the young season.
As has been the case during UCSB's hot streak, left side hitter Jacob Delson and Marsh, the right side hitter, were both remarkably efficient at the RIMAC arena. Marsh hit .346 on the evening, while Delson had a season-high .389 clip on 10 kills. Both have hit over .300 in three consecutive matches.
All-American setter Jonah Seif had a career night himself on the attack, notching seven kills off the dump against UCSD, tying a career-high. With just eight swings, he recorded an .875 hitting percentage.
Sophomore libero Hayden Boehle had a solid night in the back row, collecting eight digs. In the second set, the Loyola High School product recorded his first career kill.
Marsh's best play of the match came in the first game, when he had five kills and both of his service aces of the evening. His strong performance buoyed the Gauchos through a back-and-forth opening set that saw 14 ties and six lead changes, with the Tritons eventually breaking through mid-set for a 5-2 run that gave them the lead at 20-17.
That lead translated to game point for UCSD at 24-22, but a kill from freshman outside Corey Chavers – one of his six on the night – and an errant swing from the Tritons' Kirill Rudenko brought the Gauchos back from the brink. Delson, who had zero kills to that point, then stepped his game up big time, collecting three kills down the stretch, including one at 24-25 that saved UCSB from another game point. At 28-28, the Gauchos finally got the break they needed, as a UCSD blocker was called for a net violation before the Tritons' Ian Colbert hit one long to close the set. Colbert had had eight kills with no errors on 12 swings before the miscue.
Despite the long opener, UCSB was no worse for wear in the middle frame, jumping out to an 11-6 lead on a 5-0 run behind the serving of senior middle blocker Ryan Hardy. UCSD eventually got as close as 22-19, but a pair of kills from Marsh and a clutch game-winning dump from Seif halted the home squad's comeback.
The Gauchos kept right on rolling in the final set, hitting a match-high .440. Tied as late as 18-18, UCSB closed the match on a 7-2 run, including a 5-0 stretch with senior outside Austin Kingi serving. Seif closed the match with another dump, this time off a pass from Delson.
UCSB continues its conference-opening road trip tomorrow night with a 7:00 p.m. contest at No. 4 UC Irvine.