SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team put a dent in the armor of No. 1 Hawai'i, snapping the Rainbow Warriors' 74-set win streak, but ultimately fell 3-1 (25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19) in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,300 at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.
It was the first sell-out for Hawai'i men's volleyball since 1997, with the large crowd on hand for the Rainbow Warriors senior night. With the win, Hawai'i improved to 25-0 overall and 8-0 in the Big West while the Gauchos dropped to 17-7 and 4-4 in Big West play.
UH outhit the Gauchos .351 (57-18-11) to .248 (44-17-109) and jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the opening set. UCSB went on a 5-1 run to get back in it, and hung with the Rainbow Warriors until a 7-1 tally down the stretch put the game away in favor of Hawai'i.
In the second set, despite .414 hitting from UH, it was the Gauchos that led as late as 20-19. Hawai'i proceeded on a 6-1 run down the stretch, however, to take a 2-0 lead.
UCSB put together one of its best games of the season in the third set, hitting .600 with 16 kills and just one error on 25 attacks to snap the Rainbow Warriors' unprecedented 74-set win streak. A Ryan Wilcox kill punctuated an 8-5 start for the Gauchos, who extended their lead to 12-7 after a Spencer Fredrick kill and a block from Wilcox and Keenan Sanders. UCSB continued to hold a steady five-point lead, and extended it to six after another Fredrick kill made it 19-13. After trading the next four points, Hawai'i mounted another comeback with a 6-1 run to make it 24-23, but Corey Chavers put away the game-winning kill to stun UH.
The Rainbow Warriors came out clicking in the fourth to the tune of a 10-3 run and extended its lead to 19-11 before the set away 25-19.
Stijn Van tilburg and Rado Parapunov led Hawai'i with 22 and 20 kills, respectively.
The Gauchos round up Big West play with a pivotal final pair of matches against No. 8 UC Irvine, beginning on the road this Friday, Apr. 12 at 7:00 p.m. UCSB returns to Rob Gym for its senior night on Saturday, Apr. 13 at 7:00 p.m.