MVB: Gauchos dominate California Baptist

No. 8 UC Santa Barbara hit a robust .370 as a team while holding visiting California Baptist to a -.070 clip, swiftly defeating the Lancers in three games (25-11, 25-15, 25-13) on Friday night at Rob Gym.

It was the first time this season that UCSB (10-5, 6-5 MPSF) held its opponent to a negative hitting percentage and the first time overall since the first game of the 2014 season against UC San Diego on Jan. 4.

The Gauchos have now won five of their last six matches to climb back into the hunt for home court advantage in the MPSF Tournament.

Head coach Rick McLaughlin’s squad is on quite the roll, having won 11 straight sets, the most consecutive games won for the program since the 2010 team reeled off 12 in a row during the Hall of Fame Classic.

Redshirt senior outside hitter Weston Nielsen made the most of his 19 swings, leading all players with 12 kills while recording a season-high .526 hitting percentage.

He also recorded a pair of aces as part of a UCSB serving effort that produced seven aces on the night. Senior outside hitter Kevin Donohue had a team-high three aces while collecting five kills.

Junior setter Jonah Seif surely would have had his third double-double of the season had he not been lifted shortly after the beginning of the third game. The 2014 AVCA All-American still managed to record 22 assists, a match-starting ace, two blocks and nine digs.

Senior middle blocker Jake Staahl had a typically productive night, snagging six kills on an errorless seven swings. He will also be responsible for a number of bruises on Cal Baptist back row players tomorrow morning.

His partner in the middle, Ryan Hardy, had seven blocks, more than twice the amount of any other player on the floor.

Cal Baptist’s Rohit Paul had a respectable night on the attack, picking up a team-high seven kills despite sitting out the majority of the second set. Four of his kills came in the final game.

UCSB will look to keep its momentum rolling next week, as they travel to UC San Diego on Friday night and UC Irvine on Saturday night. Both matches are slated for 7:00 p.m. starts.