UCSB Takes Down Redhawks in Straight Sets on Asics Invite Day Two

Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Jeff Liang)
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team won its second straight game at the Asics Invitational, sweeping past Benedictine Mesa 3-0 (25-12, 25-21,25-18) on Friday night at Robertson Gymnasium.

Reigning AVCA Newcomer of the Year and Big West Freshman of the Year Ryan Wilcox recorded a team-high 15 kills and senior setter Casey McGarry delivered 34 assists for the Gauchos (2-0) in their second game of the season.

The Gauchos led from the onset, parlaying a service error on the opening Benedictine serve into a 3-0 lead after forcing a pair of attack errors on the ensuing points.

UCSB continued to pile on the points in the first set as Wilcox and senior opposite Spencer Fredrick found their groove, with each blasting four kills before the Redhawks called their first timeout down 17-10.

Fredrick put an exclamation point on the Gauchos' dominance in the first set with a service ace that made it 22-11 as the hosts cruised to a 25-12 first set win, in which they hit a gargantuan .667 on 13 kills and recorded 11 blocks.

The Gauchos didn't achieve that same level of comfort in the second set despite again leading from the beginning, as Benedictine stayed within three points of UCSB for all of the set until junior libero Grady Yould set up Fredrick to put the hosts up 18-14.

The Redhawks rallied back to within two after taking a timeout, but Santa Barbara went on a 4-1 run to force a Benedictine timeout with the 22-17 lead.

Fredrick got the Gauchos to 23 after the Redhawks scored twice out of the timeout, and then Wilcox picked up the final two kills to close out the second set with the 25-21 win.

In the third set, Benedictine twice took the lead in the early going as both teams battled back and forth, but the Gauchos went on a 9-2 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 17-11 lead.

The Redhawks rattled off four-straight to get back within a pair and traded points with the Gauchos on the next several plays, but the Gauchos closed the game out on a 4-0 run with opposite senior Keenan Sanders at the service line for the final three points.

Fredrick and Randy DeWeese finished with nine kills apiece while the quartet of DeWeese, Fredrick, Sanders and Brandon Hicks all recorded three blocks apiece. McGarry led the team with eight digs. 

The Gauchos wrap up the 2020 Asics Invitational tomorrow night at 8 p.m. against McKendree. Tickets are available on UCSBGauchos.com.