The UCSB women’s volleyball team (4-7 overall, 0-1 in the Big West) looks to snap its current four-game losing streak this weekend when it hosts #25 Long Beach (10-3 overall) tonight at 7 p.m. and Irvine (6-7 overall) tomorrow.
Long Beach is on a streak of its own, winning the six of its last seven matches. However, the Gauchos have won the past six consecutive contests against the 49ers since 2001 and look to extend that number to seven tonight.
“That’s great that we’ve beaten Long Beach consistently in the past,” UCSB Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “They’re the top-ranked team in the league right now and playing great. Whenever we face them … we’re always coming off a losing record. This is the first time we’re facing them this year and it doesn’t matter that we’ve won the past six or have lost four in a row. Every night’s a new game.”
UCSB will host Irvine on Saturday, a team that it has historically dominated with a lopsided 57-3 all-time advantage.
“Irvine lost a lot of girls this year,” Gregory said. “No matter who we face, every match is going to be a difficult challenge. This weekend we’re playing two tough teams. Irvine is very good and they went to NCAA last year. We’ve just got to take it one game at a time and try to get some wins in the league.”
After losing six of its last nine matches, Irvine rediscovered its success from last season, as freshman middle blocker Cassidy Caprista hit an error-free .750 last Saturday. Her hitting percentage against Davis is the sixth best in Irvine history for a single match.
If UCSB can consistently put up high numbers, this weekend could be just what the Gauchos need to start turning the season around.
“I think we’ve made some adjustments in our lineup. We’ve got more height and we’ve definitely been showing signs of improvement,” Gregory said.
Junior outside hitter Janine Sandell leads the team with 196 kills and is second with 129 digs. Senior middle blocker Megan Blackshire is first on the roster with 37 blocks and sophomore setter Ashley Dutro has a team-high average 10.49 assists per game, with 430 on the season.
First serve, both Friday and Saturday, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome.