Gaucho Win Streak Snapped With 3-0 Loss to UCLA

Casey McGarry (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Casey McGarry (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

LOS ANGELES – For its first road match of the season, No. 11 UC Santa Barbara had a tough task in heading to Pauley Pavillion Wednesday to take on second-ranked UCLA in a match televised by the Pac-12 Network. Despite some high moments and strong runs of play, the Gauchos ended up dropping the match 3-0 with set scores of 25-17, 25-20, 25-20.

The Bruins remained in first place with the victory, improving to 7-1 overall with a perfect 5-0 mark in MPSF play. The Gauchos dropped to 6-2, 3-2 while snapping a three-match winning streak.

UCSB was led on offense by redshirt senior outside hitter Jacob Delson, who had a match-high 13 kills. However, the Gauchos hit just .195 as a team for the night and nobody besides Delson had more than six kills.

UCLA meanwhile hit .344 and out-aced UCSB 7-2 from the service line. Outside hitter Jake Arnitz and middle blocker Daenan Gyimah were the top offensive performers for the Bruins, notching 10 and eight kills, respectively.

Despite an impressive eight points from Delson (seven kills, one solo block) in the first game, UCLA hit .379 as a team and maintained control of the set throughout. The Bruins put together a decisive 6-2 run early on capped off by a Mitch Stahl ace that made it 12-6. UCSB couldn't narrow that deficit, only scoring one point off the serve the rest of the set.  

The second game was a see-saw affair, with the teams trading runs from start to finish. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, UCLA had one last push left in them, closing the set on a 6-1 run after UCSB fought back to tie the set multiple times.

The Gauchos' first comeback was capped off by a Corey Chavers (six kills, three blocks) solo block at the net, making it 6-6 and erasing an early 3-0 deficit. The Gauchos continued riding that momentum, eventually reeling off six straight points and taking their largest lead of the night at 10-6 when UCLA setter Micah Ma'a went into the net on a set attempt.

The Bruins came back to tie it at 14-14 and then take the lead, but UCSB shot right back with 5-3 run to tie it at 19 apiece. UCLA pulled away from that point, clinching the set on a triple block of a Delson swing.

The Bruins took a 5-0 lead to start off the third set, and never took their foot off the gas pedal, hitting .303 and adding a trio of aces to finish off the sweep.   

UCSB is next in action on Friday night at the Thunderdome in a re-match against the Bruins. The Gauchos are 6-1 this season at home. First serve on Friday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.