Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Pacific men's volleyball team dropped a road contest at UC Santa Barbara Saturday, falling in three sets, 25-21, 25-16, 26-24.
Senior outside hitter Taylor Hughes tallied 17 kills for Pacific while hitting .412. Sophomore middle blocker Tommy Carmody added seven kills while converting at a .385 clip and tallied five block assists. Junior libero Javier Caceras paced Pacific on the defensive side with 10 digs. Freshman setter Marco Grasso provided 17 assists while Patrick Tunnell chipped in 13 assists.
In set one, UCSB opened up to a 7-2 lead. The Tigers closed to within 10-7 and 15-13 following a kill by Tommy Carmody, but the Gauchos rallied back to take a 20-15 advantage on a kill by Austin Kingi. Carmody and Adam Troy teamed for a block as the Tigers avoided set point, but Evan Licht posted a kill for the Gauchos to take a 25-20 win.
Pacific hit .267 in set one, but UCSB posted a .316 hitting percentage in the first frame.
Pacific held an early 4-3 lead in set two, but the Gauchos reeled off a 5-1 run. Out of a time out, Marco Grasso recorded a kill to bring the Tigers back to within 9-7. UCSB surged ahead 18-11 before Troy tallied a kill and the Tigers cut the margin to 21-15, but the Gauchos closed out the set with a kill from Licht and an attack error by Pacific.
UCSB converted at .348 for the set, while holding the Tigers to -.036 in the second set.
Hughes posted three kills early in set three as the Tigers led 8-7. Pacific led by as many as three, as Carmody and Hughes blocked a Dylan Davis attempt for a 13-10 lead. The Gauchos spread it around, with three kills by three different players to knot the set at 14-14. After trading points until 19-19, UCSB tallied back-to-back points for a two point lead. Hughes recorded two more kills as the Tigers cut the gap to 23-22.
Facing match point, a Hughes kill and a Christian Ahlin service ace brought the Tigers back to even at 24-24. But Ahlin's next serve was offline and Miles Evans put the match away for the Gauchos with a kill for the 26-24 set three win.
The Tigers hit .316 in the final set, but finished at .198 for the match. UCSB connected at a .314 rate for the match, including .293 in set three.
UCSB improves to 8-12 overall and 6-10 in the MPSF. Licht led the Gauchos with 18 kills, hitting .455, while Kingi added 12 kills on a .381 attack percentage. Jonah Self added 41 assists and 11 digs.
Pacific (5-12, 3-12 MPSF) will return home to the Alex G. Spanos Center for two meetings with Grand Canyon, on Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m.