No. 3 Gauchos Swept at No. 9 UC Irvine in Penultimate Regular Season Match

From left: Ryan Wilcox, Spencer Fredrick, Hayden Boehle (Photo by Jeff Liang)
From left: Ryan Wilcox, Spencer Fredrick, Hayden Boehle (Photo by Jeff Liang)

IRVINE, Calif. – The No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team was defeated by the No. 9 UC Irvine Anteaters in straight sets on Friday night at the Bren Events Center.

The Gauchos (17-8, 4-5 Big West) erased an early four-point deficit to set up set point three times in the opening stanza, but the Anteaters (16-10, 4-5 Big West) outlasted them with two set points of their own before Brandon Hopper's attack error off the block gave the hosts the first set.

Irvine continued to roll in the second set, turning a 6-3 UCSB lead into a 7-6 UC Irvine advantage off a 4-0 run, forcing the Gauchos to burn a timeout.

From that point, the Anteater defense would limit the Gauchos to just six more points in the second set as Irvine went ahead 2-0 with a 25-12 set victory.

Things started off right for the Gauchos in the third set, as kills by junior opposite Spencer Fredrick and senior outside hitter Corey Chavers made the score 2-0.

Irvine responded by winning seven of the next eight points to go up 7-3. As the game wore on, the Gauchos continued to fight, reducing the gap to just two, 15-13.

The Anteaters would go on another run, this time extending their lead to 21-16 thanks in part to a pair of kills from Joel Schneidmiller.

With the game on the line, Fredrick and the Gauchos put together a 5-2 rally of their own to get back within two, but still down 23-21 to the Anteaters.

However, service errors from the Gauchos on either side of another Fredrick kill would prove to be their undoing as UC Irvine completed the upset.

Fredrick led the Gauchos in kills with 15, while junior setter Randy DeWeese had 22 assists and junior setter Casey McGarry had 15.

DeWeese, Fredrick, and freshman outside hitter Ryan Wilcox each had a service ace to their name, while junior opposite Keenan Sanders led the Gauchos in total blocks with four.

The Gauchos and Anteaters meet once again tomorrow night in each team's conference and regular season finale. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Robertson Gymnasium with a ceremony honoring the UCSB seniors taking place before the game.