The UCSB women’s volleyball team won a crucial conference battle last night, sweeping second place Cal State Northridge 30-26, 30-19, 30-23 in the Matadome.
After failing to generate any offense from the left side against Cal Poly last weekend, the Gauchos (12-8 overall, 4-3 in the Big West) outhit the Matadors (12-6, 5-2 Big West) .233 to .096. Santa Barbara pushed its winning streak over CSUN to six matches.
A trio of Gauchos helped lead a balanced attack as freshman outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno, senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch, and senior middle blocker Olivia Waldowski all tallied double-digit kills. Waldowski, the conference leader in hitting percentage, continued to impress with a match-high hitting percentage of .562.
Despite facing one of the tallest frontlines in the Big West, the UCSB block was excellent, winning the battle of the block 13 to 3.
“I think that I had some very tough practices this week and we worked hard on our offense, worked on spreading it around,” Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “We were much better from the outside hitters and we had a balanced attack. Tonight we showed that we can block with the best.”
Sophomore outside hitter Harmony Burdine was the lone offensive bright spot for Northridge as she notched a match-high 12 kills on the night. The Matadors had twice as many errors as Santa Barbara and, despite being the best serving team in the Big West, committed 11 services errors.
The road doesn’t get much easier for CSUN as they host conference leader #19 Cal Poly on Saturday. The Matadors remain in contention in the conference with just two Big West losses, but they still have to face Cal Poly twice and both Long Beach State and UCSB once more.
“We were serving so tough they were trying too hard to get the points [on their serve],” Gregory said. “That’s what I was most impressed with tonight, we took them out of their rhythm. Our defense proved overall that we were just ready to play.”
The win was an impressive rebound victory for Santa Barbara after Cal Poly swept the squad in their last match. The Gauchos have won four of their last five games and continue their road streak tomorrow night at Pacific. The Tigers last defeated UCSB during the 2004 campaign. Pacific fell to the Mustangs last night, giving Santa Barbara sole possession of fourth place.
“They are a new team with a freshman setter, but they are a very good defensive team,” Gregory said. “But this is a must-win weekend for us in terms of winning games and winning out. We’ll be ready to play.”