March 8, 2017
*UCSB 3, Csun 0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-21)
Recap by UCSB
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Playing its first match at Rob Gym in three weeks, No. 15 UC Santa Barbara swept No. 11 CSUN on Wednesday night for a huge win to move up in the crowded MPSF standings; 25-20, 25-22, 25-21.
With the victory, the Gauchos (9-10, 5-9 MPSF) moved within a half-game of CSUN for eighth place in the MPSF standings. The top eight teams in the league make the annual conference tournament, with the winner advancing to the six-team NCAA Tournament.
UCSB would have had an extremely tough path to a postseason berth had they lost, trailing the Matadors (12-8, 5-8 MPSF) by 2.5 games in the standings with just four contests remaining in MPSF action.
"That was our best win of the season so far, without a doubt," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "That is a really good team over there. They were off tonight, and maybe we had something to do with that, but we'll take it."
The Gauchos were led on Wednesday by Jacob Delson. Though limited by an ankle injury, Delson had one of his most efficient performances of the year, recording a team-high 13 kills on .450 hitting.
The Westlake Village native was one of several UCSB players to convert to a float serve against the Matadors, and that gambit paid off as CSUN struggled with its passing and thus was rarely able to get into system. The Matadors ended the night with a subpar .162 hitting percentage, compared to UCSB's .341 clip.
"That was definitely part of the game plan," said McLaughlin. "They have a couple of guys who prefer to pass the jump spin, so we decided to ground a few guys and go after them with the jump float and it helped."
Delson had five kills on as many swings in the second half of the opening set to lead a comeback for UCSB, which trailed 9-7 early. A timeout from McLaughlin turned things around, as the Gauchos responded with a 9-4 run to go up 19-14. Delson went on to end the set with a perfectly placed tip that found a gap in the middle of the court.
The middle frame was the tighest of the night, with eight ties and three lead changes. It was tied as late as 19-19, but Connor Drake (4-2-8, team-high six blocks) put UCSB up for good with a quick hit. Tough serving from Randy DeWeese (35 assists, two solo blocks, five total blocks) and Delson led CSUN to commit key errors down the stretch, allowing UCSB to reel off three straight points before Corey Chavers (nine kills) ended it with a slam-down spike from the right side.
Another late run made the difference for UCSB in the third, with back-to-back blocks from Drake (with assists from DeWeese then Chavers) kicking off a 4-0 run for the Gauchos that extended their lead from 19-18 to 23-18. CSUN made it interesting with a 3-1 run on two quick hits from middle Josiah Byers and a Jakub Ciesla ace, but Delson ended the dramatics with a tip through the block to cap the match.
The Gauchos now take a break from conference play, hosting No. 5 Lewis on Saturday night before welcoming Harvard and Concordia Irvine to Rob Gym on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
Wednesday's match was originally scheduled for Feb. 17, but had to be rescheduled due to severe weather causing a closure on the 101-North freeway.
UC Irvine 3, ST. FRANCIS (PA) 0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-15)
Recap by UCI
Loretto, Penn. – Senior Thomas Hodges led sixth-ranked UC Irvine in a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-15) sweep of Saint Francis at the DeGol Arena Wednesday.
Hodges, an outside hitter, led UCI (13-6) with 12 kills, three digs and two blocks. Outside hitter Tamir Hershko followed with nine kills. Middle blocker Scott Stadick posted six kills and six total blocks, while Michael Saeta, Aaron Koubi and Matthew Younggren each had five kills. Libero Dillon Hoffman had a match-high seven digs.
UCI held a 7-0 block advantage and out-hit Saint Francis .350-.119.
Adam Kniffen topped the Red Flash (8-12) with 12 kills and six digs.
With the score tied 6-6, a pair of kills by Matthew Younggren and one by Tamir Hershko was followed an ace by Thomas Hodges to take a 10-6 lead and force a Saint Francis timeout. Back-to-back kills by Younggren and Hodges extended the lead to 18-12. The Anteaters would lead 23-18 before SFU would score five of the next six points to creep within 24-23, causing UCI to call a timeout. A Saint Francis attack error would end the set, 25-23 for the Anteaters.
The Red Flash took an early 4-7 lead in the second set. UCI would respond with the next eight points, including a pair of kills by Hershko and an ace by Younggren, 12-7. Consecutive aces by Michael Saeta bumped the lead to 15-9. A 4-0 run which was capped by an ace by Tucker Pikula built a 22-11 advantage. For the second consecutive game, UCI wins on a SFU error, 25-17.
UCI jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the third on kills by Hersko and Hodges and a kill and block by Stadick. The Flash got within 12-10, before UCI went on a 5-2 spurt to lead 17-12 and then three straight to take a 22-14 advantage. Another Saint Francis error, gave UCI the set 25-15 and the match 3-0.
The Anteaters will travel to Columbus, Ohio to face No. 12 Ball State Friday at 3:00 p.m. PT and No. 1 Ohio State Saturday (Mar. 10) at 5:00 p.m.
UCLA 3, Lewis 1 (25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18)
Recap by UCLA
No. 7 UCLA snapped No. 5 Lewis' seven-match win streak in a four set non-league victory on Wednesday night in Pauley Pavilion. Scores of the match were 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18. Oliver Martin led a balanced Bruins attack with a season-high tying 12 kills, while hitting .857 on 14 swings, and Hagen Smith recorded a season-best 45 set assists. UCLA is now 12-7 on the year and will host Harvard (6-7) in another non-league contest on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Pauley.
The Bruins came out on fire in set one behind the serve of senior Mitch Stahl who stayed at the line for five straight points as UCLA took a 6-0 lead. The Bruins built the margin up to 11-3 before Lewis mounted a rally to close to 16-13. A kill by Christian Hessenauer ended a Flyer run and UCLA quickly moved back in front 20-15. Dylan Missry led UCLA with five kills in the set as the Bruins hit .400 as a team.
In set two, UCLA broke a four-all tie with seven of the next eight points, taking an 11-5 lead following an ace by Jake Arnitz. Lewis came back to get within four at 22-18, but kills by Missry and Arnitz took care of business and gave UCLA the set 25-21. The Bruins hit .522.
UCLA moved to a 4-1 lead in set three before Lewis rallied to even the score at 6-all. The Flyers gained the momentum and pulled out to a 10-13 lead. The score was then level at 14 and 15 before the visitors put another string together for a 17-21 edge. A Martin kill pulled UCLA to within 20-23, but Lewis had the answers for a 20-25 win. The Bruins had 10 attack errors in the set, more than in the first two sets combined, and hit just -.037.
JT Hatch's kill pushed UCLA in front 5-4 in set four. An ace from Stahl made it 10-6 for the Bruins. A Stahl kill made it 18-11 and UCLA finished off Lewis on a pair of aces by Hatch, who equaled his career-high with four for the match.
Hessenauer finished with 12 kills for his third straight match in double-figures. Arnitz had nine kills, two aces and five digs. Stahl tallied two aces and six kills. Missry added eight kills. Smith chipped in with seven digs and two blocks. UCLA out served Lewis 8 to 6, but the Flyers won the blocking battle 14.0 to 6.0. UCLA hit .300 for the match to .202 for the visitors from Illinois.