The UCSB women’s volleyball team is on a three-game winning streak – its longest this season – after defeating Big West opponents Cal State Fullerton, this past Friday, and UC Riverside on Saturday evening. Both victories came in the Thunderdome, and the two opponents were put down in just three games, Fullerton falling 30-25, 30-20 and 30-27 while Riverside lost 30-17, 30-21 and 30-18.
“We’re doing a lot better,” senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch said. “We are getting a lot more consistent and our game has gotten a lot quicker.”
In Friday’s matchup with the Titans (13-5 overall, 2-3 in the Big West), senior middle blocker Olivia Waldowski had a career-tying five service aces and hit an impressive .700 on the night. Waldowski and junior middle blocker Brett Quirarte came up big for the Gauchos (10-7 overall, 3-2 Big West) on the night, tallying 14 kills and four blocks each.
“Our middle blockers played really well,” Garbisch said. “They dominated in both of our wins this weekend.”
The closest game of the match was the final game Friday night, when at one point Fullerton held a 10-point lead over UCSB. Although they were down 21-11, the Gauchos rallied to tie the score at 22. Freshman setter Stephanie Brandt then aced three serves to jump-start a 9-1 run, as the Gauchos pulled away to end the match with a 30-27 win.
“We just played really well,” Garbisch said. “We were down 21-11 and we came back to win it. We just decided we weren’t going to give up; we weren’t going to lose.”
Santa Barbara came into the Thunderdome on Saturday night carrying an impressive all-time record over the UC Riverside (2-15, 0-2 Big West), having defeated the Highlanders in the last 17 meetings between the two teams.
The first game saw just one tie at 2-2 when UCSB pulled away to make it 29-13. Riverside refused to give up and scored four consecutive points, but Garbisch ended Riverside’s hopes with a kill to end the set at 30-17.
“[Riverside] is not as good a team as Fullerton, but they are still a good team,” Garbisch said. “We just refused to play down to their level.”
The second game of the match was tied at eight, when Santa Barbara went on a 6-1 run thanks to three kills by Waldowski, who had 15 kills on the night and hit .429 overall. Also making a big contribution Saturday was senior libero Emily Hendrickson who has led the Big West in digs for the past six weeks. Hendrickson had 25 digs on the night.
Garbisch played actively in the final game of the match, leading the Gauchos with five kills and one service ace to send the Highlanders packing.
“We just played really well and had really tough serving,” Garbisch said.
Following Saturday’s loss, Riverside dropped to 0-5 in conference play and 2-15 overall. The two home wins could not have come at a better time for the Gauchos, who look to extend their three-game streak tomorrow when Pepperdine pays a visit to the Thunderdome at 7 p.m.