The UC Santa Barbara Women’s Volleyball team (16-2) continued with Big West play this afternoon as the Gauchos made the trip north to face the UC Davis Aggies. It was another five-setter for the Gauchos that ended with yet another win as UC Santa Barbara defeated the Aggies on their home court (33-31, 25-20, 25-27, 16-25, 15-11).
FROM HEAD COACH MATT JONES
“Our team had a ton of focus and showed their grit in a hostile environment. Davis served really well and we did a nice job of settling down in the fifth set after they had served so well in the fourth. I thought we played really scrappy defense and covered well throughout the match. Now, it’s time to get some rest before a quick turnaround next week.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first set started in favor of the Gauchos. Briana McKnight and Michelle Ohwobete went on big service runs to start things off, giving UC Santa Barbara the 13-7 lead. However, the Aggies, being the strong team that they are, picked up their pace, slowly closing the gap. UC Davis battled all the way back, tying the set at 24’s to take this into extra points. Neither team was willing to give up this first set, but only one team could come out with the win. That team was the Gauchos. With an ace from Grace Wuischpard and a kill from Sophie Reavis, the Gauchos finished the first set 33-31.
The visitors carried this momentum into the second set. UC Santa Barbara claimed the early lead and, unlike the first set, wouldn’t let the Aggies fight back. With the help of Ohwobete’s four kills and no errors, Santa Barbara closed out the second set 25-20.
The Aggies took over from there. Despite the energy of the first two sets going in favor of the Gauchos, UC Davis started off with a six-point run to grab the early lead. Every time Santa Barbara would rally back, the Aggies would stop them in their tracks. However, the Gauchos kept trying, eventually tying the set 22’s. The Gaucho Grit fans know and love shined as UC Santa Barbara refused to go down without a fight, taking this set into extra points as well. Ultimately, the Aggies proved to be too much for the Gauchos as UC Davis took the third set 27-25.
From there, the Aggies kept their feet on the gas. Despite UC Santa Barbara’s best efforts, nothing could stop UC Davis. Their lead continued to grow, making it more difficult for the Gauchos to battle back. This resulted in the Aggies taking the fourth set 25-16, taking this match into a fifth set.
Despite how the fourth set went, the Gauchos weren’t ready to back down. Santa Barbara came out hot, taking the early lead in this shortened set. The Aggies did their best to battle back, coming within one of the lead. But that is as close as they got. With kills from Ohwobete and Tasia Farmer, the Gauchos wrapped up the fifth set, winning 15-11 over the Aggies while staying undefeated in Big West play.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
- Ohwobete led the team on offense yet again, putting up 17 kills in this five-setter, which is her 14th match this season with double-digit kills. Along with that, she contributed 14 digs for a double-double while adding on an ace and four blocks.
- Opposites Reavis and Farmer were also big contributors to the team’s offensive efforts. Reavis finished the afternoon with 12 kills and three blocks while Farmer secured 11 kills and four blocks.
- Macall Peed continued to be the backbone of the Gauchos’ back row defense. She led the team in digs with 20. Briana McKnight’s defensive efforts also need to be noted as she contributed 12 digs and four blocks.
- The middle blockers were the dominating force for the front row defense. Andi Kreiling and Wuischpard put up seven blocks each.
- Grace McIntosh and Michelle Zhao were the playmakers for the Gauchos yet again, notching 26 and 19 assists, respectively.
The Gauchos will be back at home for two tough matches this week. They kick things off on Thursday, Oct. 12, as the Blue-Green Rivalry returns to The Thunderdome. The next day, Oct. 13, UC Santa Barbara will face the University of Hawai’i, who is the only other team in The Big West receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. with live streams through ESPN+.