No. 12 UCSB Tops No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne 3-1

Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – For the second time in as many days, the No. 12 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team came away with a victory in Indiana, this time with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-22) win over No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne at Arnie Ball Court.

Senior outside hitter Corey Chavers followed up a 21-kill performance on Friday night with a game-high 16 kills on a .387 hitting percentage to lead the Gauchos (5-3) over the Mastodons (4-2).

Purdue Fort Wayne started strong in the opening set and held off a late UCSB rally to take an early 1-0 lead in the match.

The Gauchos turned it around for the remainder of the night after Keenan Sanders and Brandon Hicks sparked an early run to start set number two. With a 14-9 lead following a service error from the 'Dons, Randy DeWeese rattled off an impressive stretch of three straight aces, and Chavers topped off the five straight UCSB points with a kill to make it an insurmountable 18-9 lead. Santa Barbara finished off the set 25-17 and continued its strong play into the third.

Down 6-4 to start the third frame, DeWeese and Chavers played off each other once again along with a Sanders ace to turn the match around with five straight points. A 6-1 run later in the set, with kills from Hayden Boehle, Ryan Wilcox and Matt Ujkic, made it a 19-12 advantage and UCSB eventually took the set 25-18, and with it a 2-1 lead.

Three kills down the stretch in a close fourth set from Chavers put the icing on the match with a 25-22 win to seal the victory. The Gauchos hit .366 (48-11-101) to the Mastodons .266 (48-22-115) and were a force at the net with 29 total blocks to Purdue Fort Wayne's 11.

Sanders and DeWeese led the team with eight total blocks apiece while DeWeese had a strong all-around match with 36 assists, seven digs and four service aces. Ujkic, Hicks and Wilcox came up with nine, eight and seven kills, respectively, and Boehle led the team with 12 digs.

UCSB returns home for its next match on Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:00 p.m. against Lewis in Rob Gym.