No. 11 UCSB Drops 3-0 Decision to No. 6 Hawai'i

Corey Chavers (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Corey Chavers (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The eleventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team was defeated 3-0 by No. 6 Hawai'i on Friday night at Rob Gym, 25-16, 25-15, 26-24.

With the defeat, UCSB dropped to 10-10 overall on the year with a 3-4 mark in Big West action. Hawai'i, which won its first road match of 2018 in four attempts, improved to 16-6, 4-3. The Rainbow Warriors out-hit UCSB .459 to .173 for the contest, setting a new season-high for an opponents' hitting percentage this year. 

Junior outside hitter Corey Chavers was one of the few Gauchos to have success offensively on Friday, posting a match-high 13 kills with a solid .370 hitting percentage. The rest of UCSB's lineup combined to hit .063.

UH meanwhile was led by middle blocker Dalton Solbrig's 10 kills off 12 swings. His partner in the middle, Patrick Gasman, added five kills on six swings while posting a match-high eight blocks. The Rainbow Warriors had a marked advantage at the net, notching 11.5 blocks as a team compared to UCSB's five. Four of UH's five starting hitters finished at .500 hitting or better. 

Blocking was the difference in the first set, as Hawai'i picked up 5.5 team blocks in the opener. UH created separation early with a 4-0 featuring back-to-back kills from Gasman to make it 8-5. Later on, Gasman's third kill of the set made it 19-13 for UH and forced a Gaucho timeout. However, the Rainbow Warriors kept it rolling, closing the set out on a 6-3 run. 

Despite UCSB hitting at a solid .381 clip in the middle frame, Hawai'i was even more in sync, hitting .684 including a 5-0-6 line from left-hitting opposite Rado Parapunov, who recorded a team-high 11 kills overall for the night. The Rainbow Warriors opened the frame with a 5-2 run and never looked back, Chavers (4-0-7) and sophomore opposite Spencer Fredrick (3-0-4) both had standout offensive performances for UCSB in the second. 

Thanks to a 4-0 run out of the gate behind the serving of sophomore setter Randy DeWeese, UCSB had its best chance to take a game in the third. The Gauchos held close to that early four-point cushion until Hawai'i reeled off four straight points late to take their first lead at 20-19. The two teams would go back and forth, but UCSB last held the lead at 21-20 as UH's Stijn Van Tilburg was whistled for a back row attack. At 24-24, Van Tilburg knocked down his eighth and final kill of the night to send himself to the service line at match point, where he uncorked a jump serve for a match-ending ace. 

The Gauchos and Rainbow Warriors will do battle again on Saturday night at Rob Gym. Fans should be advised that the Thunderdome Lot (Lot 27) will be closed all day Saturday. Instead, fans are invited to park at the Mesa Structure (Lot 18) near the UCSB Rec Center off Ocean Road.