No. 3 UC Irvine Grinds Out 3-0 Sweep Over No. 12 Gauchos

Casey McGarry (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Casey McGarry (photo by Eric Isaacs)

IRVINE, Calif. – Two days after a pulling out a five-set thrilling upset over No. 3 UC Irvine at Rob Gym, the UC Santa Barbara volleyball team took on the Anteaters once again and fell 3-0 (25-18, 30-28, 25-21) in the regular season finale at the Bren Events Center on Saturday night.

UCI was extremely efficient throughout the match, finishing with a .456 hitting percentage compared to a .260 hitting percentage from UCSB.

The two teams went back and forth in the early going of the first set and the Gauchos evened the score at 7-7 after back-to-back points on a Connor Drake kill and a UCI attacking error. From there, however, the Anteaters went on a 10-3 spurt highlighted by a pair of kills from seven-footer middle blocker Scott Stadick. UCI held on to its lead throughout the rest of the set to top UCSB 25-18 and take an early lead.

The second set needed extra points to be decided in a thrilling game that no team led by more than two points at any time. Trailing 24-23, the Gauchos called timeout and executed a play that finished with a Keenan Sanders kill to tie the score at 24-24. UCSB staved off five consecutive game points from the Anteaters, but were unable to get over the hump and dropped the set 30-28 after back-to-back kills from UCI.

The Anteaters continued their momentum to take a 5-2 lead to open the third, but the Gauchos bounced back with an 8-3 run helped by three McFarland kills to take a 10-8 lead. With the score tied 15-15 moments later, UCI rattled off three straight points on a few Gaucho attacking errors and were able to hold the lead to take the set 25-21.

McFarland finished with a game-high 13 kills while adding seven digs and Spencer Fredrick tallied nine kills to go with seven digs. Casey McGarry dished out 35 assists on the night while adding six digs.

Stadick finished with 12 kills to lead UCI while Aaron Koubi and Karl Apfelbach totaled 11 and 10, respectively. The Anteaters were a force to be reckoned with at the net tallying 19 total blocks compared to two for UCSB.

UCSB concludes the regular season 11-12 overall and 4-6 in conference and will compete in the Big West Tournament next week starting on Thursday, Apr. 19 at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. Stay tuned to UCSBGauchos.com for more information.