Gauchos Swept by No. 2 Long Beach State

Hayden Boehle (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Hayden Boehle (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Behind a 14 kill-13 dig double-double from TJ DeFalco and 40 assists from setter Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State showed why it is the No. 2 team in the country with a three-game sweep of No. 12 UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night at Rob Gym; 25-17, 25-23, 25-20. 

UCSB's (6-8, 3-8 MPSF) first contest at home after a four-match road trip, it was just the team's second loss at Rob this season. It extended the squad's losing streak to seven straight, all against top-10 ranked opponents. 

Conversely, it was the fifth straight win for the high-flying 49ers (12-2, 8-1), who haven't dropped a set in the month of February. 

Junior outside hitter Hayden Boehle was the top offensive performer for the Gauchos, grabbing a team-high nine kills on 21 swings. He is the first player besides Jacob Delson to lead the squad in kills in a match this season. 

As a whole, UCSB struggled to find a rhythm for any significant stretch, hitting .101 to LBSU's .463. 

The Gauchos were at their best in the second set, swinging at a .267 clip behind a standout performance from sophomore opposite Corey Chavers, who recorded all five of his kills while chipping in three clutch aces during the frame. 

Despite trailing 6-2 early on, UCSB was able to grab its first lead of the match in the third set following a five-point serving run from Chavers followed by a quick hit from Henri Cherry (three kills, team-high four blocks) to go up 8-7. 

Buoyed by five kills on eight swings from Boehle, the Gauchos hung with the 49ers until the second half of the frame, as the visitors reeled off a decisive 9-2 run behind long service runs Matt Butler and Kyle Ensing. 

UCSB is back in action on Friday night, hosting No. 14 Cal State Northridge at 7:00 p.m. at Rob Gym.