The UCSB women’s volleyball team extended its longest winning streak of the season to four matches last night as it defeated Pepperdine by scores of 30-24, 30-24 and 30-19. The Gauchos have been unstoppable in their last three matches, sweeping their opponents in each of the three meetings.
“It was really a team effort tonight,” Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “We came out and proved it’s not how tall you are, it is how high you play.”
Senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch led both teams in kills with 14 on the night, 11 of those coming in the first two games. Usually a good blocking team due their considerable height advantage, the Waves (6-9 overall) were out-blocked by the Gauchos 13.5-8.5. Miscues seemed to be the biggest problem for Pepperdine who committed 28 errors on the night.
“We played really quick tonight and had tough serving,” Garbisch said. “We came out ready to win and decided we weren’t going to lose.”
UCSB (11-7, 3-2 in the Big West) dominated the first two games of the night, holding a steady lead for the majority of the match. The Gauchos led 10-4 early in game two, but Pepperdine climbed back to make it 16-14. Near the close of the game, Garbisch recorded a kill before a Pepperdine time out, then notched another kill as soon as play began to put an end to a short-lived comeback by the Waves.
The third game saw several lead changes, the last coming at 14-14. Santa Barbara pulled away on a 5-0 run capped off by a kill from junior middle blocker Brett Quirarte. Garbisch soon followed, slamming down another kill to make it 21-15. The Gauchos took their biggest lead of the night at 27-16 and held off the Waves thanks to several late-game miscues committed by Pepperdine.
According to Gregory, this was a big win for her team and will help their chances in the NCAA standings.
“They all played outstanding tonight and I am really proud of our team,” Gregory said. “We had tough serving and great quickness.”
Saturday’s match with Big West rival #20 Cal Poly will be a big test for UCSB, which lost the first match with the team earlier this season.
“We just have to come out ready to play, be quick and stop their block because [Cal Poly] is a really good blocking team,” Garbisch said.
According to Garbisch, the team’s four-game streak and domination over the last three matches has been due to a considerable level of team cohesiveness and better communication on the floor.
“I think we have really come together as a team and we have good team chemistry at this point in the season,” Garbisch said.
Quirarte led the Gauchos in hitting with a .500 clip, while senior libero Emily Hendrickson led both teams in digs with 13. Pepperdine hit just .095 and had 28 errors on the night. The Waves fell from the top 25 standings last week after dropping two straight and are now on a three game skid.