SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Corey Chavers and the No. 9 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team continued its exceptional play with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) sweep over No. 3 BYU on Friday night inside Rob Gym.
With the win, the Gauchos (8-3) have now won five matches in-a-row while handing the third-ranked Cougars (4-1) their first loss of the season.
Coming off Big West and AVCA National Player of the Week honors, Corey Chavers stayed hot with a match-high 17 kills on a .306 percentage (17-6-36), accounting for nearly half of Santa Barbara's total attacks, while adding three aces.
Both teams hit less than favorable percentages – UCSB at .192 (32-17-78) and BYU at .185 (26-14-65) – but the Gauchos were able to rely on strong service with nine aces in the match while the Cougars struggled with 20 service errors.
"That's a very good team we beat," said head coach Rick McLaughlin. "Our guys are playing well and gaining confidence. BYU will come ready to play tomorrow and it will be another great opportunity for us to see where we are at and what we have to do to be at our best for playoffs."
The two teams went back-and-forth early in the first set, until a 4-0 run highlighted by a pair of Randy DeWeese aces, helped UCSB take a 16-12 lead. BYU bounced back with a 5-1 run moments later to take a 20-19 lead, but the Gauchos answered with five straight points and eventually put the game away, 25-20. Chavers and DeWeese both came up with kills down the stretch while DeWeese and Keenan Sanders paired up for a devastating block to give UCSB the momentum it needed.
Service errors were the theme in the second set with neither team grasping more than a two-point advantage until late in the frame. With the score tied 19-19, Chavers literally took the set into his hands with three consecutive kills to give the Gauchos separation and a BYU service error ended the set, 25-22 UCSB.
Looking for their first sweep since the Asics Invitational on Jan. 5, Santa Barbara pulled away midway through the third and final set and did not look back. With a three-point advantage, 18-15, after a Ryan Wilcox kill and a BYU attacking error, the freshman from Honolulu, Hawaii connected on back-to-back-to-back service aces to effectively put the game out of reach. The Cougars mounted one last rally, but Chavers polished off the night with three kills in the final four points for the Gauchos.
Sanders finished second on the team with five kills while Brandon Hicks added three kills and three blocks. Wilcox led the team with four aces to go along with six digs and three kills. Spencer Fredrick tied with Wilcox for match-high honors with six digs and DeWeese had yet another strong all-around night with 23 assists, three digs, three blocks, two aces and two kills.
Gabi Garcia Fernande led BYU with 13 kills.
UCSB and BYU will turn right around and play again tomorrow, Feb. 2, at 7:00 p.m. in Rob Gym.