On Friday night, the UCSB women’s volleyball team blew a 2-0 set lead and lost a tight five-set match to Long Beach State. On Saturday night, the Gauchos flipped the script with a comeback victory of their own over Cal State Northridge in five sets.
It was an intense weekend of road volleyball for the Santa Barbara side, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win over the Matadors. The Gauchos are now 12-9 overall and tied for fourth place at 5-5 in the Big West.
UCSB had the Beach on their back foot to start things off on Friday night. Star outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins was her usual dynamic self with 13 kills in those two sets, providing the closing three points in the Gauchos’ 25-20 opening-set win.
The attack was humming for UCSB early, particularly in that first set. The Gauchos hit at a .300 clip with an efficient 14 kills on only 30 attacks, before dropping to a .179 in the second set.
That decline didn’t keep the Gauchos from securing the first two sets, but the Beach turned things around in the third set with a fairly commanding 25-20 victory. Playing with their backs against the wall, Long Beach State jumped out to a big lead early and never let up.
The last two sets, on the other hand, were much more contested affairs.
UCSB hit .389 as a team in the fourth set, but that wasn’t enough to best Long Beach State’s .424 clip as the hosts won the last three points to snag a 26-24 win. The fifth set was much lighter on offensive firepower but still packed plenty of drama, with the Beach pulling out another extra point victory 19-17 to secure the match.
Ruddins led all attackers with 31 kills and was one dig shy of a double-double. She had help on the attack from Rowan Ennis (14 kills, .294 hitting percentage) and Torre Glasker (13 kills, 14 digs), both of whom have developed into consistent secondary options on the attack for the Gauchos.
Olivia Lovenberg, as always, kept the UCSB attack flowing with 58 assists, and just missed out on her own double-double with nine digs. The freshman added two service aces as well for a respectable three-and-a-half total points.
Friday’s loss pushed the UCSB losing streak to three games, the longest such slide the team has had all year. Another road game on Saturday night presented a tough turnaround for the Gauchos, even if the Matadors, now at 6-15 and 2-7 in the conference, are one of the Big West’s weaker teams.
Even still, UCSB came close to losing their fourth straight on Saturday. CSUN secured a 25-19 win in the first and then outbattled the Gauchos to pick up the third set, which put themselves on the brink of their third victory in Big West play.
The Gauchos came storming right back, however, hitting .270 in the fourth set en route to a 25-19 victory of their own. Just like on Friday night, set five went to extra points, but this time UCSB managed to pull it out with a 20-18 win.
Ruddins, Glasker, and Ennis once again paced the Gaucho offense, with Ruddins and Glasker both posting double-doubles as well. Emilia Petrarchi led all players with 22 digs, but it was Nicole Omwanghe and her 7 total blocks that really stood out on the defensive end for the Gauchos.
It was a solid UCSB team performance on defense, as the Matadors were able to muster a hitting percentage of just .172. That was enough for the attack to win a very back-and-forth match to snap the slide and keep the Gauchos in a tie for fourth place in the Big West with Long Beach State.
UCSB will look to avenge a painful loss a couple of weeks ago to Hawaii when the Gauchos fly halfway across the Pacific Ocean to take on the Rainbow Warriors next Saturday night at 10:00 PT.