UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Playing at Penn State's Rec Hall for the first time since the 2011 National Championship match, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara dropped a four-set decision to the host Nittany Lions in non-conference action on Friday evening; 25-19, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23.
UCSB, which entered the match an undefeated 3-0 in non-league play this season, dropped to 7-10 overall with the loss. PSU meanwhile improved to 12-6.
Junior outside hitter Hayden Boehle led a new-look lineup for UCSB, finishing with a 10-kill, 12-dig double-double. Freshman opposite Spencer Fredrick paced the squad in kills with 12, while freshman middle Keenan Sanders continued his hot play with nine kills on 15 swings.
In the first start of his career, freshman outside Roy McFarland put up solid numbers with seven kills and eight digs. Setter Randy Deweese dished out 38 assists in his first start full match since Feb. 11.
The Nittany Lions had a marked advantage against UCSB at the net, outblocking the visitors 19.5-6.5. With a match-high 11 blocks and 10 kills, middle blocker Kevin Gear was PSU's top performer.
UCSB was at its best in set two, claiming the frame by nine points and holding Penn St. to -.077 hitting. Strong serving from the Gauchos forced PSU into a number of errors early on, leading to a 16-6 UCSB advantage. Penn State committed seven attack errors and added four bad serves during that early run, with Boehle chipping in a key ace.
The Gauchos return to action tomorrow with a neutral match against Conference Carolinas member Lees-McRae at 2:00 p.m. PST in Rec Hall.