Gauchos Make it Six of Seven With Cal Baptist Sweep

Photo by Gerry Fall
Photo by Gerry Fall

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Behind 15 kills from senior outside hitter Jacob Delson and 13 more from sophomore opposite Corey Chavers, No. 12 UC Santa Barbara closed out a seven-match homestand on a high note with a three-set sweep of visiting Cal Baptist on Friday night at Rob Gym, 25-12, 25-22, 25-16. 

It was the third straight victory and sixth in the last seven games for the Gauchos (6-1, 3-1 MPSF), who outhit the Lancers by almost 300 points, .359 to .091. 

"Any time you get a little winning streak like this going in our conference, that's a good thing," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "I thought our passing was the difference tonight, and Delson had another strong game to lead us. He's been playing great every night."

Against a strong-serving team, the key for UCSB was effective passing. Due in part to the work of the serve receive trio of Delson and the Boehle brothers (Parker and Hayden), the Gauchos held Cal Baptist to just one ace on the night and were able to stay in system most of the night. 

Freshman setter Casey McGarry did not squander the consistent passing, totaling 27 assists through two-plus games of action and running the offense without a single hitting error until the second set. 

On the receiving end of most of McGarry's sets was Delson, who hit an outstanding .522 on the night, his third over-.500 performance of the young season. He was especially effective in the second as the Gauchos had to claw back from an early 4-0 deficit. 

UCSB was relatively untested in the first and third frames, hitting .565 and .370 respectively. The Gauchos were especially strong at the net in the first, notching six of the team's nine blocks for the evening. The blue-and-gold were temporarily stymied by an improved Lancer block in the final game, but eventually pushed through via five kills apiece from Delson and Chavers.

Cal Baptist put up their best fight in the second, parlaying four straight UCSB attack errors into a 4-0 lead to start the set. A McLaughlin timeout – and three straight kills from Delson – swung the pendulum back the Gauchos way, and they would eventually tie it at 12-12 before going ahead for good on a right-side spike down the line from Chavers that made it 16-15. 

A 4-0 serving run kicked off by an ace from Hayden Boehle extended UCSB's lead to 23-18, setting up Delson to clinch the set with a push-spike through the block. 

The Gauchos face their toughest test of the season so far next week with a home-and-home series with No. 2 UCLA. UCSB plays its first road match of the season in Westwood at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, before welcoming the Bruins to Rob Gym on Friday night, Jan. 27.