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The UCSB women’s volleyball team will be heading to Northridge this Saturday evening to face off with the third place Matadors. The Gauchos will finish their game with Hawaii late Thursday night and head back to the mainland for the second game of their road trip.
Cal State Northridge currently ranks third in the Big West standings with a 7-5 conference and 16-8 overall record. The Matadors last defeated Long Beach State in five sets Saturday night in a game where three players recorded double digit kills. Sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger led the Northridge attack with 17 kills, tying her season high. Hinger is second in the Big West averaging 1.23 blocks per set. Junior setter Sydney Gedryn, who is seventh at a 1.13 blocks per set, helps lead the Matadors as the top blocking team in the conference.
The second place Gauchos will need a big win to maintain their position this weekend. At 13-12 and 6-4 in the Big West, UCSB needs another strong outing against the Matadors. The last time these two teams met, Santa Barbara swept CSUN in three sets. Junior outside hitter Leah Sully led the attack with 16 kills to go along with her 13 digs. Freshman middle blocker Britton Taylor recorded 10 kills and hit .400 on the night to lead the Gauchos to a .254 team hitting percentage. UCSB also held Northridge to a .182 hitting percentage, a strength of the Gauchos as they rank third in the Big West with a .179 opponent hitting percentage.
Since the meeting on Oct. 5, Santa Barbara has gone 4-2 and has become a much-improved offensive team. Head Coach Kathy Gregory has the Gauchos playing a 6-2 offense to utilize the multi-attacker strength the team holds.
Both teams played late games on Thursday night. Santa Barbara took on No. 9 Hawaii on the road and Northridge played host to Cal Poly.
The game is set to take place on Saturday night at 7 pm in Cal State Northridge’s Matadome.