LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The No. 12 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team traveled to Westwood on Wednesday night where they ran into No. 6 UCLA and fell 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) inside Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins (5-1) were red hot throughout the night finishing with a .475 hitting percentage (46 kills – 8 errors – 80 attacks) while the Gauchos (3-3) hit just .183 (30-15-82). UCLA also finished with a 72.4% sideout percentage to UCSB's 55.4%.
The Bruins got off to a fast start in the first set, and with an 11-6 advantage, went on a 7-0 spurt to take a commanding 18-6 lead. Santa Barbara, however, did not wither and put together a run of their own with seven of the next eight points. After trading points and still trailing by seven, 23-16, the Gauchos rattled off four straight points, highlighted by kills from Keenan Sanders and Corey Chavers, to cut the lead to three, 23-20. After a timeout, the Bruins snagged the next two points to take the first set.
After hitting .552 (18-2-29) in the first frame, UCLA stayed hot in the second set with a .480 clip and 15 kills. With a 9-7 lead, the Bruins went on a 5-1 spurt to create some separation on the scoreboard and held on for the 25-16 game victory.
Early attacking errors from the Gauchos in the third set allowed UCLA to take a quick 10-4 lead. Behind strong play from Brandon Hicks and Brandon Hopper, UCSB was able to climb back into the set and get within three, 16-13. After a quick timeout, the Bruins answered with four straight points to bring its lead back to seven. The Gauchos staged one last rally after a service ace and kill from Haotian Xia brought the Bruin's lead back down to three, 21-18, but the teams traded points from then on to end the game, 25-21, and the match.
Hicks led UCSB with six kills while Chavers and Xia added five apiece. Casey McGarry and Randy DeWeese shared the setting duties with 16 and 10 assists, respectively. Xia and senior libero Hayden Boehle shared team-high honors with five digs each.
Brandon Rattray (11 kills) and Daenan Gyimah (10 kills) led UCLA.
UCSB continues its road trip with a match this Friday, Jan. 18 at Ball State at 4:00 p.m. PT. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.