Gauchos Sweep Grand Canyon on Day Two of UCSB Asics Invitational

Casey McGarry (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Casey McGarry (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On day two of the UCSB Asics Invitational, the No. 10 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team made quick work of Grand Canyon University with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 28-26) sweep on Friday night inside Rob Gym.

It was a big night for a pair of freshman as Haotian Xia, making his collegiate debut, tallied a game-high 14 kills while Ryan Wilcox added six kills to go along with a game-high 10 digs.

After Xia slammed home a kill for the first point of the match, the Gauchos and Lopes went back-and-forth with the score knotted up at 8-8 early in the first set. From there, Casey McGarry highlighted an 8-1 UCSB run with impressive back-to-back service aces. With a seven point lead, Santa Barbara cruised through the rest of the set and Corey Chavers put the game away, 25-16, with back-to-back kills.

Chavers carried the momentum into the second set where the senior outside hitter recorded six of his 12 kills in the match. After taking an early 7-4 lead, Chavers rattled of five kills in nine plays, and five of UCSB's next six points to help the Gauchos to a 12-7 advantage. The lead grew from there as Xia got into the mix with five of his kills in the frame. As a team, Santa Barbara hit a blistering .542 (15-2-24) in the set and rolled to a 25-15 final.

Looking to avoid the sweep, Grand Canyon came out strong in the third set, forcing UCSB to play from behind for most of the final game. The Gauchos were up to the challenge and weathered a 5-1 start from the Lopes to tie the match at 7-7. After trading points for most of the set, UCSB found itself trailing 22-20, but got big plays from Xia and Chavers to even the score at 24-24. No play was bigger, however, than setter McGarry rising up for a kill to give UCSB the 25-24 advantage late. GCU survived two match points from the Gauchos, but could not hold them off forever as Chavers and Jack Truman came up with a huge block to end the set, 28-26, and the match.

Truman finished with a team-high five total blocks while Chavers and McGarry added two apiece. McGarry dished out 36 assists on the night and finished with three of the team's six aces.

For the night, the Gauchos finished with a .306 hitting percentage while GCU hit just .096.

UCSB (2-0) rounds out tournament action tomorrow, Jan. 5, at 8:00 p.m. against Concordia-Irvine.