Hopes of a second consecutive Big West Championship came to an end last night for the No. 3 seed UCSB men’s volleyball team, as No. 2 Hawaii defeated the Gauchos at the Stan Sheriff Center for the third time this season, 25-18, 26-24, 25-14.
The Gauchos’ year comes to an end with a 19-9 overall record, one win shy of their highest win-total since the turn of the millennium. The Rainbow Warriors (23-5, 7-3) move on to face No. 1 Long Beach State in Saturday’s championship match.
Outside hitter Ryan Wilcox ends his junior campaign with a 13-kill, 8-dig outing, 3-ace – all team-highs. He also recorded UCSB’s only solo block.
Haotian Xia went for nine kills and two blocks, but he and the other Gauchos weren’t able to find the same success they had during CSUN, being outhit .388 to .167.
Hawaii ended with a 13 to 3.5 advantage in team blocks.
Junior middle blocker Brandon Hicks had UCSB’s only efficient hitting night, posting six kills on a .556 hitting percentage.
UCSB never really got into a rhythm in the opening set after Hawaii jumped out to a 5-1 lead. UH’s advantage never dropped below three points the rest of the way and grew as high as seven at multiple times.
The Gauchos couldn’t slow down Spyros Chakas, who had five kills on a .714 hitting percentage. Hawaii ended with a .444 to .152 hitting edge and had 6.5 blocks to UCSB’s one.
Wilcox led UCSB with four kills (.154).
If the Gauchos were going to make it a match, set two was the one to steal. Unfortunately, things didn’t go their way, despite taking a 19-17 lead in the late stages.
A big kill from Xia put UCSB up 20-19, and Hicks later tied it at 21-21, but Hawaii capped a 6-0 run to go up 23-21 on a Gaucho attacking error.
With set point at 24-22, Dimitrios Mouchlias served it into the net. Xia then put one away to tie at 24-24. However, UH cleaned it up with a kill from Chakas and a block on the following point to go up 2-0.
It was the most efficient offensive set for UCSB, despite still being outhit .361 to .219.
Wilcox had two aces and four kills.
Xia was efficient with four kills (.500) on just eight attempts.
The ‘Bows didn’t take their foot off the gas in game three, which ended as the most lopsided of the night.
Wilcox and sophomore outside hitter Dayne Chalmers had their best attacking sets. Wilcox finished with five kills hitting at a .250 clip, while Chalmers had three kills on a .500 hitting percentage.
It was still in reach for the Gauchos after back-to-back points made it 11-10 in favor of UH. However, the Rainbow Warriors reeled off five straight from there and would end the match on a 14-4 run.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.