SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In its final match of the 2017 season, the UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball was handed a 3-0 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Brigham Young University; 25-22, 25-14, 25-21.
In front of a season-high crowd of 1,150, UCSB (10-16, 5-13 MPSF) struggled to get its offensive in rhythm due in part to some tough serving from the visiting Cougars (23-3, 16-2). A night after ripping 13 aces over four games, BYU came back with six aces on Friday night including four from senior outside hitter Jake Langlois.
"We didn't compete hard enough to have a chance against a top team like BYU," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "It's not fun to end the season early like this, but we as players and coaches earned that. There's a lot of hard work that needs to be done in preparation for next year, and that work will start immediately."
Keenan Sanders had the top night statistically for UCSB, grabbing a team-high nine kills on 22 swings. With six roofs, sophomore middle Connor Drake led a solid blocking effort for UCSB, which notched 8.5 blocks as a team on the night.
BYU was led on offense by opposite Ben Patch, who led all players with 14 kills on a .286 hitting, a clip which matched his team for the match.
In a match featuring a number of long rallies, both liberos were very busy. BYU's Erik Sikes had 15 digs in the contest while UCSB's Parker Boehle notched nine.
Boehle was one of three UCSB seniors who was honored before the contest. In their final collegiate matches, outside hitter Jacob Delson had six kills and six digs while setter Grady Zant subbed in to serve twice.
Senior Night was just part one of a three-fer at the Thunderdome. Former head coach Kenny Preston, who accrued over 500 wins in 30 years at the helm of the program, was unveiled as the latest Legend of the Dome in an intermission before the third set. It was also announced that Preston will be a member of UCSB's 2018 Hall of Fame Class.
Last but not least, departing long-time public address announcer Marc "Cubby" Jacobs was saluted before the match after serving UCSB for almost 40 years as a player and PA voice.
Officially eliminated from postseason contention with Thursday's four-game loss to BYU, UCSB will be sitting the playoffs out for the first time since 2013. The Gauchos are expected to return five of six starters from this year's squad.