After Hot Start, Gauchos Fall at No. 14 Hawai'i 3-1

Phoebe Grunt (Photo by Sam Wasson)
Phoebe Grunt (Photo by Sam Wasson)

In a match where UCSB (17-11, 8-7) won its first set against No. 14 Hawai'i (22-5, 15-1) since 2014, the Gauchos were not able to sustain a hot start, falling to the Rainbow Wahine 3-1. Lindsey Ruddins led the way with 21 kills, hitting at a .235 clip, while Hawai'i's Nikki Taylor led all players with 22 kills and a .405 hitting percentage.

The Gauchos got off to a promising start, winning the first set behind an efficient .395 team hitting percentage, their highest of the night. After a 4-0 run gave the Rainbow Wahine a 17-11 lead, UCSB would take complete control of the set. The Gauchos would go on a 4-0 run of their own, bringing them within two points at 16-18, before back-to-back Hawai'i kills made it 20-16 in favor of the home side.

After a Hawai'i service error, Ruddins would serve seven straight times, picking up two aces, as the Gauchos closed the opening game out on a 9-1 run. Ruddins would finish things off with her eighth kill of the first set, giving UCSB a 25-21 win.

UCSB came out strong in the second set, taking a 6-3 lead, but Hawai'i would quickly take control of the match from there. The Rainbow Wahine went on a 8-0 run to take an 11-6 lead, hitting at an efficient .323 as a team in the second game compared to just -.031 for the Gauchos. Hawai'i would go on to tie the match at one set apiece after a 25-14 win.

The third set saw more of the same, as Hawai'i would hit over .300 for the second straight set while holding Santa Barbara to a .159 clip. Things were close in the early going, as UCSB took an 11-10 advantage off a kill by Phoebe Grunt. The Rainbow Wahine would answer with a 10-2 run, capped off by a kill from Annie Mitchem to take a 20-13 lead. They eventually took the set 25-18 off a kill from Taylor, taking a 2-1 advantage into the fourth set.

Hawai'i would pour it on the fourth and final game, using an early 8-0 run to take a 14-5 lead. The fourth would prove to be the Rainbow Wahine's best set of the night, as they hit for a match-high .400 hitting percentage while holding the Gauchos to a .000 clip on their way to a 25-10 victory.

UCSB libero Emilia Petrachi finished the night with 25 digs, her fourth straight match hitting the 20-dig mark, while Sydney Bast chipped in with 11 scoops of her own.

Hawai'i finished the night with a .315 team hitting percentage, compared to .154 for UCSB. McKenna Granato, Emily Maglio and Mitchem all reached double-digit kills alongside Taylor, recording 11, 11 and 10, respectively. For UCSB, Chloe Allen was the only player other than Ruddins to reach double-digit kills, tallying 10 on the night.

The Gauchos will be back in action this Wednesday for their season finale against UC Irvine at home.