Punahou’s Ryan Wilcox leads UC Santa Barbara to Big West volleyball Championship

Punahou’s Ryan Wilcox leads UC Santa Barbara to Big West volleyball Championship

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - UC Santa Barbara was crowned Big West Volleyball Champs last night in Manoa, leading the way for the Gauchos was Punahou Graduate Ryan Wilcox — who had a big homecoming weekend.

Wilcox and Santa Barbara entered championship Saturday set to face UC San Diego after the Tritons shocked the volleyball world by upsetting number one Hawaii.

The Gauchos would fall in set one. but would storm back to win the next three to take home the title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament — the program’s first.

Wilcox notched 12 kills and earned tournament M-V-P, a surreal moment for The former Buffanblu, especially doing it all at home.

“Winning the Big West Tournament anywhere is amazing but yeah having it be at home, it makes it all the more better.” Wilcox told Hawaii News Now reporter Kyle Chinen. “Just playing in the Stan (Sheriff Center), I love playing in there and I think it gives me a little bit extra motivation.”

Looking ahead, UCSB enters the Tourney going head-to-head with Pepperdine in the opening round, with a chance to advance and play Hawaii — something the Punahou Grad thought would happen on Saturday.

“Honestly we were expecting to meet them last night, but I’m still really looking forward to that match up,” Wilcox said. “I think we’ve had enough time now that its gonna be a good match up and were ready to take them if we get that far.”

To top it all off, Wilcox also took home hardware on reality TV, recently featured on TBS’s Wipeout, the local boy and his girlfriend besting the outrageous obstacles thrown their way.

“I’ve been watching that show since I was a little kid so I mean it was pretty cool to be on it.” Wilcox said. “They made me do some pretty embarrassing stuff but it was a really fun experience for sure.”

Wilcox and the Gauchos are on their way back to Santa Barbara to start prep for the NCAA tournament, set for May fourth in Columbus, Ohio.

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