No. 7 UCSB Falls in Three to Long Beach

Jacob Delson (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Jacob Delson (Photo by Vince Agapito)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Despite 13 kills from junior outside hitter Jacob Delson, seventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara couldn't keep up with No. 4 Long Beach State in a three-set loss on Wednesday night at the Pyramid, 25-15, 25-21, 25-19. 

The 49ers (20-4, 14-3 MPSF) hit a robust .425 in the sweep and had four players finish with at least six kills, including TJ DeFalco's team-leading 10. The home squad also had a marked advantage at the service line, tallying nine aces while the Gauchos (14-9, 9-8) were shut out.

Besides Delson, the Gauchos strugged to get in a rhythm offensively, hitting just .239 as a team. Playing outside for the first time in his collegiate career, sophomore Hayden Boehle had seven kills in just two sets. Freshman middle blocker Henri Cherry had seven kills out of the front row while junior opposite Matt Marsh rounded out the offense with six putdowns. 

Behind seven kills from Delson on just 11 swings, UCSB put up its best fight in the second set. The Gauchos led by as much as three in the early part of the frame, with a quick hit from Cherry giving UCSB its largest advantage at 11-8. 

The two teams battled it out fiercely from there, resulting in a tie at 18-18 off a Bjarne Huss kill. Marsh responded with a kill after that to regain the lead for UCSB, but LBSU answered with a 4-1 run to take command of the set. A Defalco kill ended the game and gave the 49ers a 2-0 lead. 

The Gauchos will look to inch closer to securing a playoff spot on Saturday night when they travel to Cal State Northridge for their final road game of the regular season. First serve is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. UCSB can secure its fourth straight trip to the postseason with two wins out of its five remaining matches.