SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara made very quick work of Hawai'i on Friday night, likely taking out some of its frustrations from a month-long slump on the Warriors.
The Gauchos, who had not won since February 25, swept Hawai'i in convincing fashion at The Thunderdome, 25-21, 25-13, 28-26. UCSB improves to 6-17 overall and 4-15 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The victory snapped an eight-match losing skid, one that saw UCSB win just five sets in that span. Hawai'i bore the brunt of the Gauchos' ire on Friday.
A combination of exceptional hitting and defense carried UCSB as the team swung at a .320 clip in the opening game while holding the Warriors (7-19, 4-17) to a .094 hitting percentage. In game two, Hawai'i hit -.156 compared to UCSB's .233 mark.
On the night Santa Barbara hit .154 compared to goose eggs – .000 – for Hawai'i. The Gauchos also tallied 15.0 team blocks and were monsters at the net. Dylan Davis had a solo block and eight block assists while Oliver Deutschman, Ryan Thompson, Miles Evans, Kevin Donohue and Blaine Nielson all contributed multiple block assists.
Evans and Donohue led the way with 11 kills apiece and Deutschman had 33 assists on the night. Davis hit a robust .400.
In the third set, it wasn't as simple as "three and flee" for the Gauchos as Hawai'i battled to make it close.
The Gauchos led 14-7, but the Warriors scored six of the next eight points to draw within 16-14. The Gaucho lead swelled on a Hawai'i attack error to 20-15, but the Warriors would not go quietly.
Consecutive attack errors by UCSB tied the game at 23-23 and it was a see-saw battle the rest of the way.
Finally, a pair of attack errors by Hawai'i gave the Gauchos the match. Hawai'i finished with 28 hitting errors.
UCSB closes its home season on Saturday in a 7 p.m. match vs. Hawai'i on Senior Night. The Gauchos will honor outside hitter Blaine Nielson in a pre-match ceremony. Tickets are available by clicking here.