No. 6 Gauchos Cruise Past Ohio State for Seventh Consecutive Win

Keenan Sanders (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Keenan Sanders (Photo by Tony Mastres)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – On the first day of the AVCA Showcase in Long Beach, Calif., the No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team made quick work of Ohio State with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-12) sweep on Friday inside the Walter Pyramid.

The Gauchos (10-3) were extremely efficient throughout the night, outhitting the Buckeyes .423 to .107. UCSB racked up 36 kills with just six errors while forcing 20 attacking errors from OSU (4-7), who finished with 29 kills.  

Despite hitting at a .455 clip (13-3-22) in the first set, UCSB found itself trailing by as many as four points midway through the frame, and down 20-18 late. A Brandon Hicks and Spencer Fredrick block, however, sparked a 7-2 run down the stretch to close out the opening game, 25-22 in favor of the Gauchos. Keenan Sanders came through with two of his nine kills during the run to help UCSB out to an early advantage.

In the second set, the Gauchos and Buckeyes went back and forth until midway through the set when UCSB broke away. Trailing 14-13, Santa Barbara scored five straight points as a part of a 7-1 run, highlighted by a pair of service aces from Corey Chavers. With a 20-15 lead, Chavers continued his strong play with three kills down the stretch to help UCSB hold off OSU, 25-22.

The third and final set was all UCSB as the Gauchos hit .444 (9-1-18), with just one error, and put the Buckeyes away in a 25-12 rout.

Coinciding with the Gauchos' win streak, Chavers made it seven matches in a row with double-digit kills after recording a match-high 10 kills (.381). Sanders finished with nine on 10 attempts for an impressive .900 hitting percentage and Ryan Wilcox finished with seven. Chavers logged all four of UCSB's aces on the night and Hayden Boehle finished with 10 digs to lead all players.

Santa Barbara was a force at the net, out-blocking the Buckeyes 13-2 as Sanders, Hicks and Fredrick all finished with three total blocks apiece. Randy DeWeese facilitated the offense to the tune of 30 assists.

UCSB wraps up the AVCA Showcase tomorrow, Feb. 9, against Penn State at 6:00 p.m. in Long Beach.