Gauchos Sweep McKendree to Close Out UCSB Invitational

Haotian Xia (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Haotian Xia (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team swept past McKendree 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-16) on Saturday night in Rob Gym and wrapped up the UCSB Invitational a perfect 3-0 with nine straight set victories.

The quartet of setter Casey McGarry, newly minted outside hitter Randy DeWeese, libero Grady Yould and opposite Keenan Sanders were all named to the All-Tournament Team.  

"I'm very happy with our improvement throughout the tournament," said head coach Rick McLaughlin. "We have a lot of work ahead, but it was good for our guys to see where we are at and what we need to work on as we head into two tough matches against Purdue Fort Wayne and Ball State next weekend."

Against the Bearcats on Saturday, the Gauchos (3-0) hit an incredible .458 (42-9-72) while McKendree managed just .085 (19-14-59). UCSB also held advantages in every statistical category including digs (20-14), blocks (10-5), aces (7-3) and assists (40-19).

Testing a few different lineups at the outset of the season, McLaughlin handed the keys to the offense to sophomore outside hitter Haotian Xia and senior outside Roy McFarland against McKendree and they did not disappoint. Xia finished with 10 kills on .421 hitting (10-2-19) with a pair of blocks while McFarland shared game-high honors with 10 kills of his own on a solid .292 effort (10-3-24) and a block.

UCSB recorded 14 kills apiece in all three sets while holding the Bearcats to just five kills in the first and third sets at a .000 percentage. The Gauchos, meanwhile, hit .600 in the opening frame, .345 in set number two, and .478 in the third of a well-oiled, all-around performance.

DeWeese was mystifying from the service line all night, finishing with four aces in a stat-stuffing performance that included four digs, and six kills on eight attempts for a .500 hitting percentage to go with a block. McGarry excelled on both sides of the ball as usual, logging a team-high five digs to go with his game-high 35 assists.

Rounding out the key performances for UCSB was sophomore middle blocker Brandon Hicks, who added eight kills on nine attempts (.889%) with a game-high three blocks.

The Gauchos continue their home stand with a pair of matches next weekend, beginning on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m. against Purdue Fort Wayne.