No. 13 UCSB Ends Skid, Sweeps UC San Diego

Keenan Sanders (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Keenan Sanders (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SAN DIEGO – No. 13 UC Santa Barbara ended a seven-match winning streak in emphatic fashion on Friday night at the RIMAC Arena, comfortably sweeping host UC San Diego 25-19, 25-20, 25-14. 

Senior outside hitter Jacob Delson led the team in both kills (11) and digs (12), notching his third double-double of the season and fifth of his career. Freshman middle blocker Keenan Sanders was also a potent part of the attack, knocking down nine kills on just 13 swings for the Gauchos, who improved to 7-8 overall with a 4-8 mark in MPSF action. 

The Tritons dropped to 5-10, 2-8 on the year. They were led outside Tanner Syftestad, who had a team-high 10 kills. 

UCSB controlled all facets of the game on Friday, outblocking (11.0-6.5), outhitting (.276-.048) and outacing (5-3) the hosts. The Gauchos were able to keep the Tritons under .100 hitting in all three games, including a .030 mark in the last frame. 

Sophomore middle Connor Drake was a key part of UCSB's advantage at the net, tying a season-high and finishing one short of his career best with seven blocks, including two solo efforts. Four other Gauchos recorded multiple blocks, including Sanders and setter Casey McGarry who had four apiece. 

Despite the final score, it was relatively close in the first set until the Gauchos were able to pull away with a 7-0 run behind strong serving from Corey Chavers, who notched two of his three aces during the run and forced UCSD to burn both its timeouts. Hayden Boehle also contributed two of his five kills during the spree. 

The Gauchos actually trailed until late in the middle set, heading down the stretch with an 18-20 disadvantage. However, UCSB once again reeled off seven straight points to take it, starting with a Drake-Chavers double-block and ending with a Delson ace. Drake and Chavers chipped in two kills apiece during the run. 

Things were more comfortable for the Gauchos in the third, as they hit a match-high .333 and jumped out to a big 8-2 lead early. From that point, UCSD trailed by at least seven and as much as 10. Sanders finished off the match with a quick hit from McGarry, who had 34 assists on the night. 

UCSB will look to keep it rolling tomorrow night as it faces off against No. 7 UC Irvine at 7:00 p.m. at the Bren Center.