UCSB Wins Final Exhibition Match, Prepares for Conference Play

Evan Licht (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Evan Licht (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Gauchos continued their recent dominant form on Friday night, wrapping up exhibition play with a straight-set win over Concordia (Calif.) (25-19, 25-20, 25-17).

No. 10 UCSB was led on offense by outside hitter Weston Nielson with five kills in each of the first two sets, finishing with a total of eleven. Senior opposite Evan Licht provided ample firepower with ten kills of his own to help the Gauchos offense. Further adding to the barrage were the seven kills from Matt Hanley and six kills from Ryan Hardy. UCSB collectively hit .500 clip for the match.

Setting up the offense was Jonah Seif with 36 assists, a match-high and bested his 35 assists from the previous match. The defense at the net was equally as impressive as the offense. Middle Blocker Ryan Hardy put down five blocks and Licht had a part on an additional four blocks.

UCSB played with confidence in the first set after overcoming early mistakes. Concordia rallied back in the second set off the six kills by Harrison Carroll, but the Gauchos held off their push. Outside Hitter Austin Kingi solidified the Gauchos' win in the third and final set with three service aces as part of an 8-1 point run to start the set.

Coach Rick McLaughlin was pleased with his teams play, "We played a strong match tonight. We still have some work to do to get ready for conference, but this was a step in the right direction."

The Gauchos return to Rob Gym next Friday, January 17, to face their first MPSF opponent Pacific. The following night, UCSB takes on conference foe Stanford. Both matches are at 7:00 p.m.