No. 3 Gauchos Blank No. 8 Stanford

Brandon Hicks (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Brandon Hicks (Photo by Jeff Liang)

PALO ALTO, Calif.— The No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team swept pass No. 8 Stanford in the team's first road test of the season Saturday night. The Gauchos are now a perfect 6-0 on the year and have not yet forfeited a set, while the Cardinal fell to 4-3. This is the first time in program history that the Gauchos have kicked off the season with 18 straight set wins.

UCSB downed the 8th ranked Cardinal in straight sets of 25-21, 25-18, 25-18. 

The Gauchos jumped out to an early 12-5 lead thanks to a barrage of kills from Randy DeWeese, Keenan Sanders, and Roy McFarland. Stanford was quick to respond posting a pair of 6-2 runs of its own, but Santa Barbara was able to maintain the lead and finished off the first frame with another kill from McFarland who paced the team with nine. UCSB saw a match high .229 hitting percentage in the set.

Stanford kicked off the second set with a 3-0 run before the two teams traded punches until it was iced at 14-14. From there the Gauchos put together a huge 11-4 run backed heavily by Cardinal miscues and kills from Spencer Fredrick. Santa Barbara held the host Cardinal to match low -.030 hitting percentage and six kills in the second frame.

The third and final set was a similar story with both teams locked at 9-9 before UCSB erupted for a 16-9 run to finish off the match. Ryan Wilcox and Rhys Tracy made appearances in the set and made a big impact collecting the final two kills.

Casey McGarry was up to his usual ways posting a match-high 33 assists which accounted for all but one of the teams assists. Sanders saw another potent night on the attack posting five kills with a .556 hitting percentage, and led the team on the defense end with five block assists. McFarland was the lead man on the dig collecting eight.

The road trip continues for UC Santa Barbara next week when the team will face its biggest test of the early season: a pair of matches against undefeated No. 2 BYU. The Cougars and the Gauchos will meet in Provo, Utah for a back-to-back next Friday and Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.