Get ready for the final UCSB women’s volleyball (13-8 overall, 8-2 in the Big West) home conference showdown, which starts tonight against Riverside (15-7 overall, 3-6 Big West) and continues tomorrow night against Fullerton (12-11 overall, 3-6 Big West).
The Gauchos have extra incentive to win this weekend to avenge last weekend’s loss to Long Beach, marking the only defeat they felt in October.
Santa Barbara starts up with a clean slate in November, to try and begin another winning streak to top out the second half of conference play. It also does not hurt that UCSB has gone a mind-boggling 65-0 lifetime against both the Titans and Highlanders combined.
“I really want us to leave on a good note at our house,” junior outside hitter Janine Sandell said. “Because Saturday’s game is going to be on TV, that makes it a little more exciting for us. It should be fun.”
Saturday’s matchup against the Titans will be replayed by CSTV following the game on Sunday.
If the Gauchos can win both nights, they will extend their 12-game home winning streak to 14, dating back to 2004.
“Every game we play is a chance for us to get to the NCAA [playoffs],” UCSB Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “We’re in a good position to win it, but we still have to continue to win the rest of our league games. We have a tournament over Thanksgiving and have to be committed to winning all our Big West games before then.”
The extra wins this weekend will also help first-place Santa Barbara on its road to securing its fourth consecutive Big West title.
After being swept by UCSB, Riverside is in the middle of its best record in the Big West, amassing four more wins than it recorded last year and looks to push past the tie for fifth place.
If UCSB continues to play like last weekend, that just might be a possibility. At the beginning of the Gauchos’ nine-game winning streak, they were hitting above .200, with a clip as high as .319 against Long Beach and Irvine at home.
But in the past three contests, Santa Barbara has been in danger of losing twice and fell once, with an average .171 hitting percentage.
With performances like junior libero Emily Hendrickson last week, who averaged 7.5 scoops per game, dug out a career high 34 balls against Long Beach and 29 against Irvine, Santa Barbara will be back on the winning track.
“We’re good enough to beat both teams, it’s just a matter of having confidence and playing to win,” Sandell said.
The first serve is scheduled for 7 tonight in the Thunderdome.