By ROMNEY M. STEWART
The BYU men’s volleyball team capped off its regular season with a win over No. 13 UC-Santa Barbara Friday night in four games, 15-10, 11-15, 15-13, 15-4.
Santa Barbara was looking for a win over the Cougars to keep its hopes alive of qualifying for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation postseason tournament. The Cougars kept the Gauchos from controlling the scoreboard by keeping Santa Barbara to a hitting percentage of .170. BYU hit .302 for the evening. Friday night’s match was the second in a double-header against the Gauchos. Thursday night the Cougars had won in three games.
Cougar Ossie Antonetti led all players with 30 kills, while teammate Shane Van Beest put down 15. Gaucho Kevin Collins totalled 23 kills to lead UCSB.
In game one, the Cougars blocking game got off to a quick start and went on to tally 22 blocks during the course of the match.
“Blocking is a very aggressive skill, and I wanted to keep utilizing my height,” Van Beest said.
A small breakdown plagued the Cougars in game two as the Gauchos jumped out to the quick 4-1 lead. The Cougars never really got the ball rolling and were down 6-13 before a comeback brought them to within two points. An Alika Williams block finished the game off for UCSB as the Gauchos claimed game two by a 15-11 score.
“We didn’t approach the situation the way we needed to,” Antonetti said. “They’re a good team. They weren’t scared and they played hard.”
The third game proved to be a see-saw affair with both teams trading points. Some out-of-bounds hits were costly for the Gauchos though, and the Cougars took advantage of some nice hitting by Ryan Millar to come through at the end for the victory.
The game three loss seemed to take some wind out of UCSB’s sails, and the Cougars took advantage by spreading their blocking game wealth around in game four. Five different players scored on points with blocks, and the Gauchos could only muster four points compared to the Cougars’ 15.
BYU begins the playoffs this Saturday. The Cougars will be playing in California against Long Beach State.
The Cougars will be looking to play their best ball of the year now that the playoffs have arrived.
“We can’t afford to be hot and cold anymore,” Van Beest said.