UCSB Fights for a Thrilling Five-Set Victory at No. 9 Pepperdine

Jacob Delson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Jacob Delson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 10 Santa Barbara came out on top against No. 9 Pepperdine in a five set thriller Wednesday night (20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 29-31, 15-13).  Although Pepperdine showcased an impressive blocking performance throughout the match, the Gauchos found their rhythm after the first set as the outside hitter tag-team of Austin Kingi and Jacob Delson racked up a total of 32 kills.

Three different Gauchos (11-5, 7-4 MPSF) had double-digit kills with Delson at 15, Henri Cherry at 12, and Kingi with 17 kills and 12 digs, his first double-double of the season.  Junior libero Parker Boehle also had a career high as he held the Gauchos' defense together scrapping up 18 total digs.  For the Waves, (6-4, 5-4) senior outside hitter Matt Tarantino dominated the court and led both teams with 21 kills hitting .356 for the match. 

The Gauchos just couldn't get the ball rolling in the first set as they started the match down 7-1 and struggled to put the ball away against the strong block put up by the other side of the net. The Waves shut down the Gauchos offense as they finished the match with 30 total blocks.  Senior middle blocker Tommy Cormody led the way with eight blocks on the night limiting the Gaucho offense to .000 and taking the first set 25-20. 

The Gauchos established themselves early on in the second set as Matt Marsh's two aces and tough serving put the Gauchos on a six-point run to secure a lead.  At 24-19 another Gaucho ace by Jacob Delson finished the second set.

Delson carried his momentum into the third set making a strong appearance from the front and back row with eight kills.  Tied at 16-16, another serving run by Marsh allowed the Gauchos to take a four-point lead and win the set 25-20.

The fourth game found Pepperdine with the win at 31-29, as the two teams went back and forth battling it out.  Although Boehle held down the defense and the Gaucho outside hitters continued as offensive threats, their efforts weren't enough and Pepperdine forced a fifth set.

Game five was point-for-point as both teams were successfully putting the ball away.  Cherry came into the fifth set strong for the Gauchos chipping in immediate kills, but it was Kingi with two kills at the end of the match to win the set 15-13 to take home a win.  

UCSB looks to further their season as they wrap up their road games this week on Friday, Feb. 19 at Stanford at 7:00 p.m.