SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On the third and final day of the 2019 UCSB Asics Invitational, the No. 10 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team notched another sweep with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-19) victory over Concordia-Irvine in Rob Gym.
With the win, the Gauchos improve to 3-0 to start the season after sweeping the competition throughout the tournament. The annual Asics Invitational nearly featured a Big West sweep as eight of the nine matches were won by the three Big West programs in attendance. No. 1 Long Beach State won all three of its matches while No. 11 CSUN won its first two before being outlasted in five sets by No. 14 Grand Canyon.
On Saturday night, Santa Barbara's depth was on full display as a different group of starters took the court and jumped on the Eagles from the first set. While Friday showcased many of the talented freshmen on the roster, Saturday's match featured an experienced group for the talented Gauchos.
"It was fun to watch a number of our guys play well this weekend," said head coach Rick McLaughlin. "They all work very hard. We have a lot more hard work and improvement ahead, but this was a very good start."
For the third straight match, UCSB was extremely efficient producing a season-high hitting percentage of .444 (41-9-72) and held the Eagles to hit just .145 while smothering CUI at the net with 24 total blocks.
Both Keenan Sanders and Randy DeWeese were forces to be reckoned with early on as the duo teamed up for back-to-back blocks to help the Gauchos out to a 9-5 lead. The Eagles rallied back and eventually snagged a 21-20 lead, but it would not last long as DeWeese, Matt Ujkic and Corey Chavers delivered clutch kills down the stretch to give UCSB the first set 25-22.
In the second frame, with Brandon Hopper back to serve, the Gauchos rattled off five straight points to take a 12-2 lead as Sanders continued his sensational play. Hopper added three of his kills in the second set as UCSB hit .478 in the game with 14 kills and just three errors on 23 attacks. CUI never recovered and the Gauchos cruised to a 25-16 set victory.
In the third and final set, Hopper tallied three more kills in the first seven plays to help the Gauchos off to yet another fast start, 5-2. The lead eventually grew to 9-4 before the Eagles mounted a comeback, but UCSB staved off CUI as Chavers made his presence felt in the game. With the score 24-19, DeWeese, Chavers and Hopper provided the exclamation point on the night and the tournament with an emphatic block to end the match.
Chavers, who finished with a team-high 11 kills, and Hayden Boehle, who added a game-high 10 digs, were named to the All-Tournament Team. Hopper finished with nine kills and seven total blocks while Sanders added eight kills and five blocks. DeWeese dished out 35 assists on the night while adding four blocks, six digs and a pair of kills in the all-around effort. Ujkic pitched in with six kills and Henry Hancock finished with five.
UCSB is back in action this Wednesday, Jan. 9 against Pepperdine at 7:00 p.m. inside Rob Gym.