The UCSB women’s volleyball team came out of the Thunderdome Classic 3-0 and ultimately victorious.
The weekend kicked off as the ‘Chos played the University of San Diego on Friday Sept. 13. After starting out a bit slow and eventually dropping the first set to USD, the ‘Chos went 3-0 to emerge victorious 3-1.
The win was highlighted by an impressive 20 kill- and 14-dig-double-double from senior outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins, which marks her third straight 20-kill match. Rowan Ennis continues to come up big in key moments by adding 10 kills and eight blocks while allowing UCSB to put away USD late in the contest by catalyzing an 8-1 run which put the third set out of reach.
Freshman Romoni Vivao posted 25 assists and nine digs in her first ever home game putting the cherry on top of a commanding win. USD put up a good fight, but ultimately could not match the offensive onslaught of the ‘Chos — with Megan Jacobsen putting up 16 kills and the rest of the team much farther behind that.
La Salle University was UCSB’s second challenger in the Thunderdome Classic.
La Salle seemed to be the biggest threat to the ‘Chos with the high offensive output from outside Samantha Graver, who went on to put up 20 kills. Other than Graver, the rest of La Salle was unable to play at a high enough efficiency throughout the game to get the win. The ‘Chos swept La Salle 3-0. Ruddins was two kills short of pushing the 20-kill streak to four straight games, but still provided the majority of the Gaucho offense.
Ennis put up an impenetrable blocking wall, boasting seven kills out of the 50 total Gaucho kills. Ennis has frankly played on another level these past few weeks. She has really been able to cement herself as a defensive force on the court that teams are going to have trouble scheming around.
The ‘Chos played Harvard on Saturday marking the final game in the Thunderdome invitational.
The Gauchos beat Harvard 3-1 in yet another dominating performance. For a team that recently struggled with serving in their previous invitationals, UCSB won this game with their serving — posting 11 aces to Harvard’s two. In addition the ‘Chos put up 22 blocks to Harvard’s 11. Ennis came up huge posting 13 kills and six blocks. With yet another elite hitting and blocking performance by Ennis its safe to say she has emerged as the much needed second or third option for UCSB after Ruddins.
A question for this team coming into the year was how the team would respond to losing integral veteran players, and throughout the first three invitationals Ennis reassured the ‘Chos to not worry. Look for her to play a continually more significant role in the upcoming matches.
Ennis came up big again and was rewarded with the Invitational MVP award and All-Tournament Team honors. Ruddins and Tallulah Fowler also made the All-Tournament Team. With that Gaucho players made up almost 50% of the All-Tournament Team.
The ‘Chos will look to carry this momentum into their game on Wednesday against UCLA at home.