In two away matches this weekend, the UCSB women’s volleyball team made quick work of Big West foes Cal State Fullerton and Riverside.
With the wins, the #19 ranked-Gauchos regained sole possession of first place in the Big West standings, improving to 13-6 overall and 9-2 in conference. They are now a full game ahead of UC Irvine, which lost to Pacific on Thursday. Fullerton, with an all-time record of 0-47 against the Gauchos, was unable to improve on the mark as Santa Barbara rolled to a 30 -18, 30 -27, 30-28 victory at Titan Gym on Friday. In game three, the Titans were able to give UCSB a small scare as they mounted a 19-13 lead before the solid play of the Gauchos solidified the comeback and victory. As a team, the Gauchos out-hit the Titans .280 to .160. Senior outside hitter Erica Menzel lead all players with 15 kills as well as scooping up 13 digs for her 12th double-double on the season. Junior libero Kristin Nelson had a match-high 23 digs, reaching the 20-dig plateau for the eighth time this season.
On Saturday, Santa Barbara continued their tour of the southland as they traveled to the Student Recreation Center in Riverside. With a combination of tough serving and accurate hitting, the Gauchos made short work of the Highlanders 30-19, 30-19, 30-25. With the win, Santa Barbara completed their second consecutive sweep of a league opponent.
The Gauchos showed the multidimensional nature of their attack on Saturday, led by two underclassmen. Freshmen outside hitter Janine Sandell had 13 kills with only one error for a .480 hitting percentage, while sophomore middle blocker Megan Blackshire batted down 14 kills for a .500 average. Freshman middle blocker Olivia Waldowski had an impressive serving performance in game two serving 12 of the 30 points in the game; she also had nine kills in the match.
“I think this weekend was definitely a step in the right direction” junior libero Kristin Nelson said. “Consistency has been our toughest opponent this year. We have a lot of weapons on this team. It is just going to be a matter of them all firing at the same time.”
This Friday at 7 p.m. the Gauchos return home in their search for consistency for only their fifth home match of the season.