No. 14 UCSB taken down by top-ranked Bruins

UCSB hosted top-ranked UCLA on Friday night at Rob Gym. (Vince Agapito Photos)

Former Santa Barbara High Don Jeremy Casebeer blocked out the chants of “traitor” from a raucous crowd at Rob Gym to lead the No. 1 UCLA men’s volleyball team to a victory of UCSB in four sets.

“I enjoy playing at home with family and friends in the crowd. The heckling just makes it more fun,” said Casebeer, who had 15 kills in the game.

UCLA's Jeremy Casebeer goes up for a block. Casebeer had 15 kills on the night for the Bruins.

The scores for the games were 25-17, 25-18, 22-25 and 25-20.

UCLA is now 12-1 as they head off to play Long Beach next week.

For the Gauchos, Miles Evans turned it on in game three, helping his team take a game off of the Bruins.

“We have improved a lot since we last played UCLA. We had a lot more confidence coming into this match today. We came in believing we could beat this team, and we didn’t let them go without a fight,” said Evans.

Dylan Davis had a solo block from the middle and a kill off the hands of a UCLA player to begin the game 2-0. Evans had a big swing from the outside for 3-1.

Then no one could stop him.

With the help of Jake Staahl and Kevin Donohue, Evans blocked a ball straight down creating a roar in the crowd, momentum for his team, and the continuous lead 7-4. Evans had six big swings near the end of the game leading his team to victory 25-22.

“Miles is just starting to realize how good he can be in this league,” said UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin.

The Gauchos did not have the lead in the fourth game, but they continued to scrap together points and stay with UCLA until the very end. At 11-16, a three-man block from UCLA created momentum and carried the Bruins to a 25-20 win.

“The way to get around a block that big is by passing perfect, and we had one of our worst passing games,” McLaughlin said. “We got a long way to go and we are still a young team, but we will be ready.”

UCSB is now 3-7 and plays Cal State Northridge next Wednesday at Rob Gym.

Coach Al Scates of UCLA has already won 19 national championships and in his last year he hopes to take home his 20th.

“Santa Barbara is a lot improved from the last match we played,” said Coach Scates.

For the Bruins, Casebeer’s 15 kills was a team high followed by Weston Dunlap with 13 kills. Thomas Amberg and Gonsalo Quiroga both had 8 kills.

For the Gauchos, Miles Evans had 19 kills, Kevin Donohue had 9 kills, and Dylan Davis had 6 kills.