SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC San Diego men’s volleyball team was beaten in straight sets by No. 7 UC Santa Barbara in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) action Friday night at Rob Gym. Scores were 25-15, 25-13, 25-17.
UCSD (1-17, 0-16 MPSF) thus dropped all three match-ups this season with UC Santa Barbara (12-5, 11-5 MPSF), having previously lost 3-0 decisions in its season opener at UCSB’s Asics Invitational on Jan. 4, and in La Jolla just last Saturday.
Johl Awerkamp led UCSD offensively with nine kills. The senior opposite was in the starting lineup in his first return to the court since suffering an injury during a block attempt in the Tritons' home opener against BYU back on Jan. 18. Awerkamp missed the last 12 matches. He added four total blocks on Friday.
For the third straight contest since his Triton debut, redshirt freshman libero Tanner Howard produced a team-high digs total with seven. Freshman middle blocker Shayne Beamer had a career-best four total blocks.
Weston Nielsen’s 12 kills on .688 hitting (12-1-16) for the home side was the match high. Sophomore setter Jonah Seif wound up with 29 assists, four kills on four attacks, a match-high four aces, five digs and five block assists. Libero Chad Kingi’s nine digs and middle blocker Jake Staahl’s six total blocks also led all players.
Though the Tritons matched their season high with 8.0 total team blocks, they were out-hit by the Gauchos, .423-.016, and had zero service aces to nine by UCSB.
A pair of 6-0 runs gave the Gauchos leads of 6-0 early and 21-11 later in the first set. There was just two tie scores, in the second frame, at 1-1 and 2-2. UCSB began to pull away with a 3-0 stretch for a 5-2 advantage, and later tallied five straight points and eight of nine for a 15-5 bulge.
The Gauchos scored the first two points in the third, and a four-point sequence made it 8-3 shortly thereafter. UCSD surrendered four more points in a row to go down 17-7. The Tritons closed the deficit to five at 22-17 with three points on an Eric Barber kill, Gaucho attack error and a combination block by Awerkamp and Beamer, but the hosts grabbed the final three points to quell that rally.
UCSD remains on the road to take on No. 5 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on Saturday night at 7 p.m.