MALIBU, Calif.— UCSB took the first set but could not hold off Pepperdine's comeback in a 3-1 loss in their first match of the Pepperdine Invitational.
Offensively, the Gauchos targeted Leah Sully to carry the load as she led the match with 21 kills off her .250 kill percentage. The senior narrowly missed her third consecutive double-double, as she came up with nine digs on the night.
Following Sully in the kills category was Allie Sullberg with 10. Coming into the match, the freshman only had eight kills at UCSB, but she took advantage of her second start as a Gaucho and locked in a solid .304 kill percentage.
Ali Spindt recorded double-digit figures in digs for the second time in as many matches with 12. It was the first time the freshman paced UCSB in any category this season.
In the first set, UCSB raced out of the gate to a 5-2 advantage and never gave up its lead. Four of those points came off of Gaucho kills and leading the way in that stretch was Sullberg with two.
The Waves fought back and were able to knot the set at 22, but that was the closest they would ever get to the lead. An Ali Spindt kill broke the tie and Kara Sherrard took care of the rest with two service aces, ending the set at 25-22 UCSB.
Sherrard finished with a total of three service aces against Pepperdine. It was the first time the senior collected three aces since Nov. 2, 2010 when UCSB hosted UC Riverside.
The first set was a close battle, but the Waves made their comeback starting with a 25-14 victory in the second. Pepperdine carried that momentum after the break and won the next two sets 25-20, 25-15, respectively.
The Gauchos struggled on defense, as they only came up with 47 digs compared to the Waves' 65. Pepperdine also held the advantage at the net, recording the most total blocks a UCSB opponent has made this season with 27.
UCSB will look to get back in the win column on Saturday when they take on Colorado State at 12:30 p.m. followed by Virginia at 5 p.m.