October 26, 2013

Gauchos Come Up Strong in Sweep Over Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif.— In their most dominant match this season, the Gauchos swept UC Riverisde in convincing fashion on Friday night. Leading UCSB to the 25-17, 25-15, 25-16 decisions was  Katey Thompson who swung for a match-high 14 kills. The opposite checked in with her most efficient offensive outing of her senior campaign, as she hit for an overwhelming .619. Also checking in with double digit kills were Ali Spindt and Ali Barbeau with 12 and 11, respectively.

UCSB is now a perfect 2-0 when facing Big West teams on the road.

With the victory, the Gauchos keep the Highlanders winless in conference play, while also improving their season-high win streak to six matches. UCSB improves its record to 11-8 overall and 6-1 in the Big West. The Highlanders are still searching for their first conference victory at 0-7, while their record slides to 1-18 overall.  

In a complete game effort, UCSB held their own at the net with 12 total blocks, edging UCR's final tally of seven. Phoebe Grunt led the match with five block assists.

Leah Sully led the Santa Barbara defense with 16 of the team's 53 digs.

The Gauchos came out of the gates hot against Riverside with an 8-2 run to open the first set. Thompson accounted for three kills and a block assist in that span. The Highlanders struggled to keep pace as they could not muster up more than three points in a row in the game.

Santa Barbara continued with their early momentum and reached the 20-point mark while UCR only had 13 points. Spindt was key in closing out the set as she hit three consecutive kills to give her team game point. An attacking error from Riveride's Cristina Maietta ended the set in UCSB favor at 25-17.
  
Reminiscent of the first set, UCSB charged out to a 10-3 lead in the second game. Barbeau had the hot hand as she notched in four kills during the stretch. Thompson complimented the sophomore with three kills of her own.

UCSB never put their lead in danger as they would not allow the Highlanders to come any closer than five points at 10-5.

Middle blocker Phoebe Grunt served UCSB to three consecutive points in clinching the second set. She first dealt UCR a service ace and continued to serve as Barbeau connected on back-to-back kills, giving the Gauchos the 2-0 lead going into the break.

After two sluggish starts from the Highlanders, Riverside was able to find an early offensive spark in the third set and found themselves up 5-3.

The Gauchos were unphased by the quick start and responded with five unanswered points. Thompson was at the service line during the run and accounted for a service ace and a kill. Jaylen Villanueva and Barbeau accounted for one kill each as well.

The Gauchos carried this momentum through the rest of the game and even garnered a ten-point lead at 22-12. Ending the match was Ali Spindt who struck a kill to seal the 25-16 set victory and the 3-0 sweep.

UCSB will continue on the road tomorrow night when they visit Cal State Fullerton at 6pm.       

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