SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Gauchos swept their first conference match of the season on Wednesday, winning their third consecutive match and ninth set in a row in the process. Over 400 people watched No. 9 UCSB dominate the court against No. 6 Long Beach State in three sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-22).
With the victory, UCSB improved its record to 3-1, while Long Beach State fell to 2-2.
Just as UCSB started every match this year, they found themselves with an early 2-0 set lead. The second set was especially strong for sophomore Matt Marsh and sophomore Weston Nielsen, who each pounded 6 kills. Marsh ended the night with a team-high 15 kills. In just his second start of the season, Nielsen contributed 12 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Austin Kingi added 11 kills for the team. Junior Chad Kingi was all over the court, picking up 10 digs.
The third set looked hopeful for the 49ers to make a comeback as they took an early lead. However, UCSB avoided a repeat of Friday’s collape to UCLA in the opening match of the Asics Invitational by wresting back momentum with the serve. Marsh and Nielsen both went on serving streaks for the Gauchos to take back the lead. The 49ers fought hard to reestablish their lead, but they ultimately fell short.
Freshman setter Jonah Seif distributed the ball across the court for a total of 47 assists. With 6 serving aces and a .398 team hitting percentage, the Gauchos dominated all facets of the match.
“Our setter distributed the ball well and everybody hit for a high percentage,” Head coach Rick McLaughlin said after the win. “The depth is really going to help us throughout the season.”