No. 3 Gauchos Open Conference with 3-1 Win Over No. 6 UCSD

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

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—No. 3 UC Santa Barbara made it eight straight Friday night downing No. 6 UC San Diego 3-1 to open Big West play. The early points favored the visiting Tritons, but the Gauchos found their rhythm late in the second set to take it 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-16.

DeWeese notched double digit kills for the third straight time collecting a match-high 15  to go with seven digs and five block assists. He was once again efficient on the attack posting a .324 hitting percentgae (15-3-37).

UCSD rode an incredibly hot start to a first set victory out-hitting the Gauchos .409-.167 and capitalizing on a handful of service errors by UCSB. Despite the Gauchos pulling off a comeback to tie the set half way through, the Tritons held on to take their only set of the contest.

The second frame favored UCSD early with the visitors taking a 12-8 lead, but the host Gauchos were poised to protect their undefeated home record storming back to take a 21-19 advantage with a huge 13-3 run. A kill by senior Roy McFarland sealed the deal and tied the overall match at 1-1 in a set that saw seven ties and four lead changes.

San Diego answered the Gauchos' second frame win with a 10-4 run to open up the third set, but a 10-2 run by the UCSB saw the team take a 14-12 advantage. DeWeese and sophomore Brandon Hicks found three straight kills late in the contest to give Santa Barbara lead changing win.

Down 2-1, UCSD ran out of gas in the fourth and final set as the Gauchos erupted for 13 kills on .357 hitting compared to the Tritons' -.040 mark. UCSB extended its lead to as much as 10 before putting the match away with a nine-point deficit.

Senior setter Casey McGarry got it done on both ends posting 36 assists, six digs, and three block assists. Senior libero Grady Yould paced the defense with eight digs and senior Keenan Sanders put downs block assists.

As a team, Santa Barbara outhit San Diego .310-.144 and turned in an impressive 13 total blocks compared to the Tritons' 10.5.

COnference play continues next week with the Gauchos facing the two-time defending champs, Long Beach State, in a home-and-home series.