The UCSB women’s volleyball team dominated UC Riverside on Tuesday night, recording a 25-14, 25-15, 25-14 sweep. With the win, the Gauchos improve its series record against UCR to an undefeated 25-0. UCSB is currently ranked third overall in the Big West conference with a season record of 8-4.
[media-credit id=20125 align=”alignleft” width=”170″][/media-credit]“We were the better offensive team,” Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “We had great serving tonight, and we minimized our errors which was key.” UCSB controlled the tempo of the game throughout each of the three sets, never letting UC Riverside take the lead past the first eight serves.
The win came after the Gauchos’ two-game skid, where they lost 3-0 to Big West powerhouses Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton on the road.
Against Riverside, senior setter Dana Vargas contributed 34 assists over the course of the match, while senior middle blocker Kasey Kipp matched junior middle blocker Stacey Schmidt with a team high of ten kills each. “We were all confident going in [into the game],” Schmidt said.
The third set was the only sign of struggle for the Gauchos, as UCR went on a three-point run to move the score within just four points midway through the set. Gregory used the first and only UCSB timeout of the night to regroup the team. “That’s how runs get started,” Gregory said. “We needed to be more consistent.”
UCSB came out of the timeout with a run of their own, and the game ended with an anti-climactic point off an out-of-bounds serve by UCR.
UC Riverside is currently winless in conference play, and ranked in last place overall. Highlander Head Coach Ron Larsen was not impressed by his team’s effort. “I don’t think we did anything well tonight,” Larsen said.
As the season begins to come to a close, UCSB knows that every game is a crucial part of post-season success. Outside hitter Charlene DeHoog is one of a handful of Gaucho seniors that will provide experience during the final stretch of the season. “We can’t be timid or nervous to play,” DeHoog said. “We should go out there with a fiery attitude.”
The Gauchos face Cal Poly in a Big West conference showdown this Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome. With a win against its rivals, the team maintains its position in the top three in the Big West.
“We definitely need to win every match in conference,” Schmidt said. “I think if we win the rest of our games and some other teams drop one or two, we can be in the top two [ranking] at least.”