Senior Randy DeWeese recorded a game-high 14 kills to go along with seven digs and three aces to lead the No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 26-24) season-opening sweep over Concordia-Irvine in Rob Gym on Thursday night.
The opening match of the annual UCSB Invitational saw DeWeese flourish in his first appearance as an outside hitter, after spending the past three seasons as a setter. The 6-foot-6 senior from Sacramento, Calif. is making the transition look seamless after hitting .440 with just three errors on 25 attempts.
As a team, the Gauchos hit an efficient .370 (38 kills-8 errors-81 attempts) while holding the Eagles to a .194 (22-9-67) clip and held advantages at the net in blocks (13-4), digs (31-24), and aces (8-2).
A pair of Roy McFarland kills and a DeWeese ace helped UCSB out to an early lead in the first set. The Gauchos were firing on all cylinders out of the gate and hit a match-high .524 in the frame with 12 kills on 21 attempts and just one error. With a 10-7 lead, a pivotal 4-0 run highlighted by another DeWeese ace and kills from McFarland and Haotian Xia gave UCSB all the separation it needed to finish off the set 25-15.
McFarland and DeWeese were at it again in the second, sparking a 9-1 run early on to take a commanding 12-5 lead. Behind just a .231 showing in the game, UCSB was able to hold off any Concordia chance of a comeback as the Eagles hit just .182 and racked up 18 service errors throughout the match.
After taking care of the second set 25-16, the Gauchos needed all of its match-high 17 kills on .382 hitting in the third to pull off the sweep. Concordia made it interesting down the stretch, with three straight points to take the first crack at set point, but UCSB kept its composure and tied the game at 24-24. After none other than DeWeese slammed down a kill to give the Gauchos match point, it was a big-time triple block by McFarland, Brandon Hicksand Spencer Fredrick to put the exclamation point on the win.
McFarland and Keenan Sanders finished with seven kills apiece on extremely effective hitting, with McFarland at .462 (7-1-13) and Sanders an errorless .700 (7-0-10). The pair also led the team with three blocks apiece and each added an ace to boot. Casey McGarry facilitated the offense to the tune of a match-high 33 assists while libero Grady Yould logged a match-high eight digs.
Raymond Barsemian led Concordia-Irvine with eight kills.
UCSB (1-0) continues Asics Invitational action Friday, Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m. against Benedictine Mesa in Rob Gym.