Santa Barbara Athletics News
Jan 10, 2019
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 10 UC Santa Barbara came within one point of a 3-0 sweep, but instead saw visiting No. 5 Pepperdine steal the third set and with it, the momentum, to stun the Gauchos in a five-set heartbreaker, 3-2 (18-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-13) on Wednesday night in Rob Gym.
The loss is the first of the young season for UCSB (3-1), who has split its past 10 meetings with Pepperdine (3-0). Five of those meetings have gone into a decisive fifth set with Pepperdine now holding a 3-2 record over the Gauchos in such games. The Waves are now 4-1 in their past five matches at UCSB, while the Gauchos are looking forward to a rematch on Friday at Pepperdine, where they have won four of the past five meetings.
The Gauchos came out on fire in the first two sets, hitting .458 (13 kills – 2 errors – 24 attacks) in the first followed by .385 (14-4-26) in the second to cruise to 25-18 and 25-19 set wins, respectively.
Freshman Ryan Wilcox was a factor early, with four of his 12 kills in the first set to help the Gauchos create some separation on the scoreboard.
The Waves hit just -.045 (7-8-22) in the first set, but increased their percentage over the next three frames to change the tide of the match.
A crucial third set saw Pepperdine take control early and hold a three-point advantage most of the way. Trailing 15-12, Santa Barbara looked to none other than Corey Chavers, who came through with three straight points after sandwiching a block between two kills to tie the score at 15-15.
The Waves got back-to-back kills from Kaleb Denmark to take the next two points, and after a series of service errors, held a 21-19 advantage.
The Gauchos, once again, rallied for three straight points, highlighted by a Keenan Sanders kill, to take their …