RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- No. 6 California Baptist University made an impressive statement Wednesday night, handing No. 7 UC Santa Barbara a straight set loss in dominating fashion.
The Lancers won 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-19) on senior night in the Van Dyne Gym, getting big performances out of three senior leaders.
After receiving the pregame honors before playing their final match in the Van Dyne Gym Guilherme Koepp led the team with 13 kills, Aaron McCalmont hit .600 and had 10 rips and Levi Cabral posted 11 kills and four service aces.
“This was an awesome way to finish our last home match here,” said Cabral, who sits as the program’s career kills leader and just four aces from the program record in that category as well. “To get a win like that against a very good team is impressive. Our goal this season was to show we belong in this conference and that’s just another example of why we do. I know this program can keep this momentum going even after we leave.”
CBU stormed back in the opening set, getting a run of four straight points behind the service of Cabral. Cabral fired off three aces to help CBU take its first lead of the set, 22-19. The Gauchos managed just one more point as the Lancers cruised to the win.
The finish in the second game would be much closer.
The teams traded points all the way down the stretch, playing to a 24-24 tie late. A costly blocking error was called on UCSB and Koepp would capitalize, sending an over-ball straight down to finish the set off.
CBU went on an impressive run early in the third, stuffing the Gaucho attack on consecutive plays and then getting an ace from Amir Lugo-Rodriguez to put the Lancers ahead 12-6 and induce a UCSB timeout.
It would be a dominant run to the finish as CBU got the win in less than 90 minutes.
“We’ve just been clicking lately,” said Cabral. “We weren’t just pumped up for this match, we’ve been ready to play every night. Ever since we lost to BYU we came together and have been playing great.”
The Lancers have won seven of their last eight matches, with their only losses since the start of March coming to No. 1 BYU and No. 2 Long Beach State. UCSB is the sixth Top 10 team the Lancers have defeated during that span.
“It started when we started holding ourselves accountable and worrying about our own games,” said McCalmont. “We wanted so badly to have a good season from the start and now it’s coming together. Tonight was an amazing feeling. Playing my last night in this gym and getting a win like that is a great feeling.”
The Lancers hit.414 on the night, committing half the attack errors (16-8) that UCSB did. CBU also held a 7.5-2 advantage in blocks Wednesday night.
The win breaks the two teams’ tie for sixth in the MPSF, bumping the Lancers up to 15-12 overall, 11-10 MPSF. UCSB falls to 14-13, 10-11.
The Lancers finish the season on the road, playing at No. 3 UCLA Thursday and then heading to Northern California for matches against Pacific and No. 8 Stanford.