The No. 6-ranked UCSB men’s volleyball team got a monster week from sophomore libero Ryan Pecsok, who anchored the defense to 52 digs in three matches en route to being named the Off the Block National Libero of the Week as well as the Big West Defensive Player of the Week.
Pecsok topped himself by setting a new career-high in each match, going for 10 digs against No. 5 USC on Feb. 9, 18 at No. 10 GCU on Friday and 24 the following night in a rematch with the Antelopes. His efforts helped the Gauchos win a pair of close matches at GCU, both of which went five sets.
The Pacific Palisades native averaged 4.0 digs per set for the week, including a season-best 4.8 in the last contest at GCU. In that match, he had nine digs in the first set alone.
Entering the week, his highest total for an entire match had been nine. His 24 digs that night were the most of any player in the nation so far in 2022. Pecsok now has 92 digs for the year, the fifth-most in the country. He also chipped in on offense with five assists.
Pecsok becomes the first Gaucho this season to earn national honors and the third to notch a Big West Player of the Week award, joining Ryan Wilcox (Off) and Donovan Todorov (Def). UCSB has now won six of its last seven matches, all against ranked opponents, and 15 of its last 17 against ranked opponents overall.
This week, UCSB returns home to host No. 13 BYU on Friday and Saturday at Rob Gym. These will be the first of six straight matches for the Gauchos at home, who begin Big West play against No. 11 UC San Diego on Feb. 24.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.