After a week off from competition, the No. 15 UCSB men’s volleyball team (1-7) was back in action. They made the trip south to Malibu as they took on the No. 5 Pepperdine University Waves. After three sets, it was the Waves who came out victorious as the Gauchos were swept (25-23, 25-21, 25-21).
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Gauchos stepped on the court in Malibu ready for a battle, and that is exactly what they brought. These two teams duked it out for every single point before UCSB pulled ahead with a three-point lead. When that happened, senior Ryan Wilcox registered his second kill of the match but the 1,000th of his career. Even with a Gaucho reaching this milestone, UCSB couldn’t maintain the lead, ultimately dropping the first set 25-23.
The remaining two sets told a similar story. Both the Waves and Gauchos collided for the remainder of the game, going point-for-point. By the end of each set, Pepperdine squeaked their way ahead of the Gauchos, resulting in 25-21 losses in the final two sets for UCSB.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
– Owen Birg finished the night with the most kills, registering a career-high 16 kills in his first start as a Gaucho.
– As mentioned above, Wilcox hit one of the biggest career milestones in the sport during this game on his way to a 15-kill match. He only made two errors on the night as he finished with a .565 hitting percentage. Along with that, Wilcox added on two blocks.
– Max Gordon was a huge asset in the back row for the Gauchos. He ended the night with 15 digs, his highest number this season.
– Jack Walmer led the offensive efforts as the team’s sole setter. He ended the night with 36 while also notching the team’s only ace.
The Gauchos will return to Rob Gymnasium for the first time since the Asics Invitational as they return the favor and host the No. 5 Waves. First serve will be at 7 p.m. with Rally Poms given to fans in attendance while supplies last. For those who can’t make it to Rob Gym, a live stream will be available through ESPN+ along with live stats.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.