No. 10 UCSB Swept at No. 3 BYU

Austin Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Austin Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)

PROVO, Utah – Tenth-ranked UC Santa Barbara struggled to a season-low .165 hitting percentage on Friday night, suffering its first sweep of the season at the hands of No. 3 BYU at Smith Fieldhouse, 25-20, 25-16, 26-24. 

With 28 assists and 10 digs, senior setter Jonah Seif notched his fourth double-double of the season for the Gauchos, who dropped to 8-4 overall on the year with a 4-3 record in MPSF play. 

The host Cougars (7-2, 5-2 MPSF) had a solid night offensively, especially from their pin hitters, as opposite Ben Patch (16 kills) and outside hitter Jake Langlois (13 kills) led BYU to a .330 hitting percentage.

The top statistical freshmen blocker in college volleyball, Connor Drake had another productive night at the net for the Gauchos, tying outside hitter Jacob Delson for the team lead in blocks with five. Senior middle Ryan Hardy (four blocks) and Seif (three) also chipped in while in the front row to help UCSB outblock the Cougars 11-8. 

The Gauchos hung tight with the home squad early in the first set, carrying a tie as late as 17-17. BYU went off from that point however, winning eight of the next 11 points to take the all-important first set. Langlois was the most potent offensive force for the Cougars in the run – notching a pair of kills – but it was their defense that allowed them to finish the job as back to back double-blocks at 23-20 ended the set. With three kills on three swings and a pair of blocks, Hardy had his best set of the night in the opener. 

BYU was at their best in the middle game, hitting a robust .462 while UCSB countered with just a .103 clip. Patch (six kills) and Langlois (five) were instrumental in the Cougars' strong play. 

UCSB came back in the third with new resolve, hitting .211 to BYU's .214 while leading early, going into the stretch run ahead 14-13. Brenden Sander helped spark a 5-2 run for the Cougars from the service line that helped them re-claim momentum. BYU nursed that lead until set point at 24-20 and looked moments away from sealing the win. However, UCSB responded by winning the next four points to force a tie. 

The final two points of that run were especially dramatic, with UCSB junior opposite Matt Marsh having to lean into a crowd of BYU fans to save a shanked pass before Delson slammed one of his five kills on the night. Then Delson and Drake teamed up to block a swing from Patch to even up the score. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, their momentum would run out there, with a Langlois kill ending the match after a UCSB service error. 

UCSB will be right back at it against BYU tomorrow night, taking on the Cougars at 6:00 p.m. PST. Like tonight's match, tomorrow's contest will be televised live on BYU TV. The match can be streamed here or viewed on Cox Cable channel 150, DISH Network channel 9403, or DirecTV channel 374.