MALIBU — After 12 days off, the UCSB men’s volleyball team ventured to Malibu Wednesday and lost a sweep to fifth-ranked Pepperdine on scores of 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.
The loss is the seventh in a row for the Gauchos, ranked 15th in the latest NVA/AVCA national coaches poll. Six of those losses have been to top-10 teams, after a season-opening win over 10th-ranked USC.
The match against the Waves started on a promising note, with UCSB taking an early three-point lead in the first set on a milestone by senior outside hitter Ryan Wilcox — his 1,000th career goal.
Wilcox, a Honolulu native, finished with 15 kills, giving him 1,014 as a Gaucho. He made only two errors, finishing with a .565 hitting percentage, and added two blocks to his night’s work.
UCSB’s kill leader in the match was redshirt-freshman Owen Birg, notching 16 in his first career start.
The two teams battled out the first set, with the Waves pulling ahead when it counted for the 25-23 win. The next two sets were also closely contested, with Pepperdine closing them out.
Sophomore Max Gordon scooped a personal high 15 digs for the Gauchos, and setter Jack Walmer distributed 36 assists.
Jaylen Jasper led the Waves offense with 17 kills.
UCSB, now 1-7, will get another shot at 8-1 Pepperdine Friday at Rob Gym, with a 7 p.m. start.