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volleyball-men-nc flag | January 19, 2014

UC Santa Barbara takes down No. 1 Stanford in five-set thriller

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- UC Santa Barbara pulled off the upset of No. 1 Stanford in thrilling, five set fashion (25-13, 21-25, 12-25, 25-23, 15-12). The victory, fueled by the electric atmosphere generated by the nearly 500 fans at Rob Gym, is the first time since 2011 the Gauchos have dethroned a top-ranked team. UCSB previously defeated No. 1 USC in the NCAA tournament to reach the finals against Ohio State. UCSB improves to 3-0 on the season, 2-0 in conference play.

The team gained a comfortable 8-2 lead, assisted by a Ryan Hardy service ace. After the Cardinal scratched back to get the score to 15-10, UCSB answered with a 10-3 point run to win the first set. Instrumental to the late set strength were three service aces from Jonah Seif and an additional service ace from Matt Hanley to clinch the set.

UCSB struggled through the second and third sets. The second set saw six Gaucho service errors and the team trying to fight back from behind early. At the net, Stanford also blocked six of the Gauchos' swings. The third set saw the Cardinal rack up another six blocks at the net while hitting a combined .609 clip. Stanford's attack was led by Steven Irvin's 16 kills and Brian Cook's 17 kills in the overall match.

The fourth set witnessed the Gauchos break the tie at three points each, the first of seven tie scores in the set, and not give up the lead for the rest of the set. UCSB rediscovered its net presence from the first set and blocked five more Cardinal attempts. Junior outside hitter Austin Kingi slammed six of his total 15 kills to lead the Gaucho attack, none better than the final two kills to win the set and rally the UCSB faithful. Further, Evan Licht tacked on four of his own kills, for a total of 12 kills in the match.

Weston Nielson and Ryan Hardy teamed up for the first block of the fifth set, which was also the first point, in the set. Again, the Gauchos' net presence stymied the Cardinal attack, blocking six swings and forcing six attacking errors. UCSB capitalized on their defensive prowess, with Ryan Thompson and Jonah Seif teaming up to win the final two points, and the match, with blocks. Thompson finished witha total six blocks, including a solo put back, while Seif had a part in four additional stuffs. Hardy, Licht, and Nielson each assisted in two blocks.

No. 2 Loyola Chicago 3, Mount Olive 0

CHICAGO -- Second-ranked Loyola Chicago wrapped up a five-match homestand by sweeping Mount Olive inside Gentile Arena on Saturday afternoon. Behind 11 kills from Thomas Jaeschke, the Ramblers earned a 3-0 (25-9, 25-11, 25-9) win against the Trojans. Loyola improves to 4-1 on the year while Mount Olive sits at 1-2 after today's loss.

In the opening set, the Ramblers got off to a sizzling start, winning the first three points off a Joe Smalzer kill and Jaeschke ace. The Ramblers continued to charge ahead, and a kill by Nick Olson put Loyola up 16-8. Four points later, the Ramblers had their highest lead of the night when an assisted block by Olson and Peter Hutz made the score 20-8. After Mount Olive suffered three errors, Loyola won the set 25-9.

Mount Olive took control of the second set first, winning the first three points off kills from Angel Dache. That was all the Ramblers would give the Trojans, however, as Loyola jumped out to 17-8 lead mid-set. The two teams traded points until a Smalzer kill made the score 20-11. Loyola then scored the last five points of the set unanswered, closing the set 25-11 off kills by Olson, Jaeschke, and Smalzer.

The Ramblers again jumped out to an early lead in the final set, winning the first four points. Loyola continued to build on its lead until an Olson kill made the score 8-4, and the Ramblers went on to score a staggering 11 points unanswered. With a 19-4 lead, Loyola never looked back and ultimately won the set 25-9.

Loyola outhit its visitors .679 to -.095 for the match, and enjoyed a robust 40-17 advantage in kills. Jaeschke led the Ramblers with 11 kills, two digs and two service aces, while Hutz claimed 25 of the team's assists. For the second consecutive night, Olson had an impressive performance, operating at a .909 clip (10-0-11).

No. 6 UCLA 3, Pacific 0

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA won its fifth consecutive match in a straight set win against Pacific on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion. The victory upped the Bruins record to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in MPSF Conference play. Scores of the match were 25-19, 25-16, 25-18.

Robart Page led UCLA with 14 kills on the night. Quiroga chipped in with 13 kills, two aces, 11 digs and a couple of blocks while hitting .591. Michael Beals totaled 35 set assists and eight digs. Kersten added six kills and three blocks. Ian Sequeira dug five balls. Rowe had four kills and a couple of blocks while Bantle totaled seven kills and an ace.

No. 7 UC Irvine 3, Cal Baptist 0

IRVINE, Calif. -- UC Irvine was on fire offensively, hitting .514 in a 3-0 victory (25-21, 25-16, 25-13) against Cal Baptist at the Bren Center Saturday.

Four of the six Anteater attackers were errorless as UCI committed only eight miscues the entire match. The .514 hitting percentage (45-8-72) is the best in the MPSF this season.

The Anteater attack was led by junior opposite Zack La Cavera with 15 kills, hitting .500.  Senior outside Jeremy Dejno totaled 11 kills, while senior outside hitter Connor Hughes had eight kills and hit .615 (8-0-13). Freshman middle blocker Andrew Benz, in his first career start, hit .857 with six kills on seven swings. Senior middle blocker Collin Mehring hit .800 (4-0-5) and had a team-high three block assists. Freshman setter Michael Saeta posted 39 set assists, two aces and two blocks. Libero Michael Brinkley had a team-best six digs.

No. 8 BYU 3, UC San Diego 0

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Taylor Sander broke BYU's record for aces in a match with nine on Saturday, helping the Cougars to a sweep (25-12, 25-19, 25-17) of UC San Diego.

Sander contributed 13 kills and five digs to go with his aces. Robbie Sutton helped out with a career-high 20 assists, while Matt Underwood led in digs with eight. Underwood and Michael Hatch tallied four blocks apiece to lead the Cougars (4-2, 4-0 MPSF).

Sander already holds the career aces record at BYU, increasing his career total to 144 after the UCSD match. The next closest Cougar career total is Ivan Perez (2005-08) with 91. Sander broke Kevin Sagers’ record for aces in a match. Sagers had eight vs. Loyola-Chicago in 2011.

No. 9 Lewis Erskine

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. -- Lewis extended its winning-streak to three with a 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 27-25, 25-21) victory against Erskine on Saturday at Neil Carey Arena.

The Flyers improve to 4-2 on the year while Erskine falls to 0-2 on the campaign.

Lewis was led by redshirt sophomore outside hitter Will McCall, who posted a career-high 13 kills, four digs, two assists and one block assist. Redshirt sophomore opposite Patrick Lilly collected 10 kills, seven digs and one block assist while redshirt junior outside hitter Eric Butch chipped in nine kills, seven digs, five block assists and one solo block. Sophomore setter Scott Fifer had a career-high 43 assists, four digs and three block assists as junior libero Andy Orf had 12 digs.

The Flyers collected 48 kills with 18 errors in 103 attempts to hit .291 while holding Erskine to swing .164 (52 K, 30 E, 134 TA). The Flyers also out-blocked Erskine, 11-to-7.