Service Errors Cost No. 3 UCSB Rematch with No. 2 BYU

Randy DeWeese (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Randy DeWeese (Photo by Jeff Liang)

PROVO, Utah.— No. 3 UC Santa Barbara led host No. 2 BYU in all major categories in the the two team's Saturday night rematch with the exception of one: service errors. The Gauchos posted a season high 32 service errors in the five set loss, costing them what was otherwise an incredible all around team performance. UCSB held match point in the fourth set, but were unable to close it out in a tough environment at Smith Fieldhouse.

The host Cougars improved to a perfect 10-0 on the season taking the match 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 28-26, 15-11, while the Gauchos fell to 6-2.

Four Gauchos ended up with double digit kills in Randy DeWeese (19), Roy McFarland (15), Ryan Wilcox (11), and Keenan Sanders (10). Sanders was once again the face of efficiency for UCSB collecting his 10 kills on just 18 swings for a hitting percentage of .556, which led all players.

Senior setter Casey McGarry made the most of his first five-set opportunity posting a season high 53 assists and added a season high 17 digs to go with it.

The final score is far from indicative of the strengths that the Gauchos displayed through five sets, as they bested BYU in both kills and hitting percentage in all but the final set. The Cougar offense truly struggled posting a hitting line of .201 and seeing UCSB post 12.5 team blocks.

The opening set was a neck and neck battle with the teams trading punches until they found themselves deadlocked at 16-16. A pair of kills from McFarland and DeWeese, along with a Cougar error, would give UCSB a three point lead that forced a BYU timeout. Ryan Wilcox was then the man to answer the call posting two late kills to close it out.

BYU would tie the match at 1-1 before heading into the locker rooms as the team capitalized on a second frame that was plagued by service errors on both sides. Out of the break, UCSB regained the lead 2-1 behind impeccable defense that held the Cougars to a .094 attack line.

With their back against the wall the Cougars got off to a hot 4-0 start in the fourth frame, but the Gauchos quickly closed the gap meeting at 12-12. From there the two teams went back and forth in a set that saw 14 ties and four lead changes. A McFarland kill would give UCSB a match point opportunity at 26-25, but unfortunately a service error would cost them as BYU forced a fifth and final set.

With momentum on their side, the Cougars took off in the fifth to claim their 10th straight victory.

UC Santa Barbara will look to bounce back next weekend as the team's road stint continues. The Gauchos will take on Ohio State Friday night before seeing Penn State the following night in a neutral site bout.