Gauchos Sweep Fort Wayne to Cap Off Asics/South Coast Inn-vitational

Jacob Delson (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Jacob Delson (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 12 UC Santa Barbara finished off a perfect run through the Asics/South Coast Inn-vitational on Saturday night with a tidy sweep of visiting Fort Wayne to push its record to 3-0 on the young season while moving the program's winning streak in its season-opening tournament to 12 straight matches.

As he did in Friday's doubleheader against McKendree and Mt. Olive, senior outside hitter Jacob Delson once again led the way offensively for the Gauchos, notching 16 kills and hitting an impressive .519. Pin hitters Hayden Boehle (nine kills) and Corey Chavers (four kills on five swings) also had nice nights on the attack to help the team finish with a .420 hitting percentage. Freshman setters Casey McGarry (21 assists, six digs in two sets) and Randy Deweese (11 assists in one set) co-quarterbacked the team's offense. 

The Gauchos were no slouches on the defensive side of the ball either, going the whole match without a reception error and outblocking the Mastodons 8.0-5.0. 

"I was very happy with the way our team continued to improve throughout the tourney," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "Our young guys are learning fast, but we still have much work ahead."

The Mastodons played their best volleyball early on, taking a 12-8 lead in the first game and forcing UCSB into a timeout to regroup. The Gauchos found their rhythm after the huddle-up, with Delson leading the charge with three straight kills out of the break. A couple plays later, Connor Drake and Hayden Boehle teamed up for a double block that knotted it at 13-13. Boehle went on to widen the gap from the service line, pitching in a a kill on a run that pushed UCSB's lead to 19-16 and forced a Fort Wayne timeout. The two teams traded points until Delson, who had six kills in the frame, clinched it with a spike down the middle through the block. 

The Gauchos came out hot in set number two, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead and never taking their foot off the gas pedal. UCSB hit .429 as a team in the set compared to Fort Wayne's .074, led by five kills from Boehle and another four from Delson. Parker Boehle frustrated the Mastodon hitters in the stanza with seven digs. The Gauchos held the lead at all points during the set.

It was more of the same for UCSB in the third and final set, jumping ahead 6-1 and then maintaining pressure from there. The Gaucho attack went basically unopposed, hitting .824 and failing to record a kill on just two of their 17 swings. Delson led the way with an impressive six kills on six swings, while Cherry was 3-3 and newcomers Keenan Sanders and DeWeese had a pair of errorless swings. UCSB closed the contest on a 4-0 run with Cherry at the service line, earning match point with a nice DeWeese-Sanders block before Delson ended it with a laser down the middle.

The Mastodons were led by outside Pelegrin Vargas, who had a team-high eight kills. Fort Wayne failed to get into a groove though, hitting just .138 for the match including a .080 clip after the first game. 

UCSB opens Mountain Pacific Sports Federation league play next week, hosting UC Irvine on Wednesday, Jan. 11 and UC San Diego on Friday, Jan. 13. Both matches are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. starts at Rob Gym.