HONOLULU – Despite career nights from pin hitters Jacob Delson and Corey Chavers, No. 11 UC Santa Barbara was defeated for the second time in as many days by No. 5 Hawai'i, dropping a four-set contest to the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday night at the Sherriff Center; 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19.
Delson, a senior outside hitter, and Chavers, a sophomore opposite each set new career marks for kills in the contest, grabbing 23 and 18 kills respectively. The duo led a solid offensive showing for the Gauchos (6-5, 3-5 MPSF), who hit .296 for the evening, an 81 point improvement over Friday's straight-set defeat.
However, the Rainbow Warriors' (10-2, 3-2) offense was in even more of a rhythm, hitting .357 paced by Stijn van Tilburg's match-high 24 kills. UCSB simply could not come up with an answer for van Tilburg, as the UH outside accounted for almost half of his team's kills while taking over a third of their swings.
After falling behind 1-0, the Gauchos fought back hard in the next frame, culminating in their first set victory of the weekend. It was Delson and Chavers who led the charge for UCSB, notching a kill apiece to force a late tie after trailing 20-22. After a UH timeout, Delson, Chavers, and middle Connor Drake (five kills, four blocks) teamed up stuff a van Tilburg attack at the net to give the Gauchos the lead. A couple points later, UCSB would clinch it on a Rainbow Warrior attack error.
Things were tight again between the two teams in the third set, resulting in a 23-23 tie down the stretch. Unfortunately, things didn't break UCSB's way this time, with the home team grabbing two quick points to re-take the lead at 2-1.
Hawai'i put it away in the fourth with a fatal 6-1 run late, turning a marginal 16-15 lead into a commanding 22-16 advantage behind a long service run from Kupono Fey. The Gauchos weren't able to close the gap from there, with the teams siding out on each point until a van Tilburg kill ended it.
UCSB closes out a four-match road stretch next week with contests at Pepperdine on Wednesday and Stanford on Saturday. The Gauchos' next home match is Wednesday, Feb. 15 against Long Beach State.