As a team, the No. 11 Gauchos turned in a statistical performance to remember on Wednesday night, setting individual highs in kills, digs, assists, hitting percentage and blocks. All that was not enough to beat the No. 14Cal State Northridge Matadors, as UCSB fell 3-2 in a five-set thriller at the Matadome. Game scores for the match were 21-25, 25-21, 30-28, 20-25, 15-9. The loss snapped a five-match winning streak against CSUN for the Gauchos.
Tied with Northridge in the MPSF standings at the beginning of the night, UCSB now falls to 5-10 with a 3-8 conference mark. The Gauchos now sit tenth in the conference, tied with Hawai'i. Cal State Northridge improves to 6-9, 4-7 in the MPSF.
The box score from Wednesday's match will surely produce a number of double-takes, as the Gauchos set season-highs across the board. Junior middle blocker Dylan Davis found his stride and then some- recording a match, season, and career-high 22 kills on 32 attacks for a .656 hitting percentage, also an individual and team season-high.
Davis had not recorded more than nine kills so far this season. The last time he reached double digits was in the NCAA Championship, when he had 15 in the semifinal match against USC. Dylan's 22 kills are now the most by a Gaucho so far this season. The cherry on top of Davis's stat line was his 14 blocks, a career-high, and the most by a Gaucho this season. In fact, it was the most by a Gaucho in almost 12 years, as Andy Tomkinson was the last to do so, recording 14 total blocks on Mar. 11, 2000 against Lewis College. Dylan finished the night with an astounding 29.5 points.
Sophomore setter Bryce Miller, in his first career start, tallied 57 assists. Bryce now has the top two assist totals by a Gaucho this season- his season-high 57 is followed by the 48 he picked up at BYU last weekend (though he shares that slot with junior setter Oliver Deutschman's 48 at Stanford on Jan. 21). Bryce also had 13 digs, giving UCSB their first double-double from a setter this season.
Junior outside hitter Miles Evans had an up-and-down night. Evans had a dozen kills, giving him 10 or more in 14 of 15 matches this season, and also picked up a career-high 19 digs. Those 19 digs represent the most a Gaucho has picked up in a match this season. However, Miles had a tough night receiving serves, as he finished with five of the team's 10 receiving errors.
Freshman opposite Austin Kingi continued his strong run, finishing with 15 kills to go along with eight blocks and eight digs. It was the second consecutive match that three or more Gauchos have finished with 10 or more kills.
Coming into the match, the Gauchos had recorded three double-doubles all season, with two of them coming at BYU last weekend. Against Northridge, UCSB doubled that tally by putting down another three double-doubles from Davis, Miller, and Evans.
The Matadors were led by Matt Stork, who had 20 kills and three service aces. As a team, Cal State Northridge had 10 aces, the most the Gauchos have surrendered to an opponent this season. UCSB's .900 team reception percentage was their lowest to this point of the season.
Cal State Northridge libero Charlie Condron also digged up 20 balls to lead all players.
UCSB will hope to right the ship against Long Beach State on Friday night at Rob Gym. Long Beach was swept by top-ranked UCLA on Wednesday night. The faceoff against the 49ers will be the first of a five-match homestand for UCSB. Tickets for that match, and all remaining home matches this season can be found here.