Los Angeles, Calif.- Carrying their momentum from the previous road win at USC, the UCSB Gauchos upset #6 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in a strong four set victory (25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19). Following the win, UCSB improves to 7-11, 5-9 MPSF while UCLA drops to 11-9, 7-7 MPSF.
The Gauchos came out dominant in the first set to win against an inconsistent UCLA side. The first set saw six score ties and three lead changes. UCSB struck early offensively scoring 75% of their side-out points that UCLA could not match all night. The resurgent Bruins rallied back in the second set with UCSB dropping key points off errors and poor hitting. The strong showing from both sides drained UCLA late in the match, seeing the Gauchos take the tightly contested third set before closing the critical fourth set in similar fashion to the first.
The Gaucho's offensive machine was led by Junior middle blocker Evan Licht. Licht beat his previous best of 13 kills, which he recorded in the previous game against USC, with 18 against UCLA, adding an additional pair of service aces from behind the line. Adding to the strike were outside hitters Sophomore Austin Kingi with 10 kills and an ace as well as senior Miles Evans with 12 kills and a pair of aces.
Kingi backed up his offensive strength with an equally impressive 6 blocks as part of a team total 21.0. For the second straight game, the Gauchos block was able to stymie the opposing offense.
UCLA's performance was strong despite the loss. Spencer Rowe led with 16 kills of his own as well as a pair of aces. Gonzalo Quiroga and Robart Page assisted with 10 and 11 kills, respectively. Stopping Page was a big advantage for the Gaucho's that in the two previous meetings saw page slam 22 kills in the first and another 16 in the second, both at UCSB.
UCSB looks to continue their road momentum, having won their first two road matches of the season in consecutive fashion, against No. 3 Long Beach State - the last of their six game road trip on Friday March 1 before returning home for a five match homestand.