UCSB women’s volleyball suffered its first loss in the history of the program to Cal State Fullerton (16-9 overall, 5-6 Big West) Friday, making the series record between the two Big West teams 52-1. The Titans out-blocked Santa Barbara 18.5 to seven, earning them a 23-30, 30-25, 30-22, 19-30 and 15-10 home victory.
“I guess we just weren’t ready to play,” senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch said. “They were playing at home and it was their senior night so they were really fired up.”
Despite the historic loss, several of the Gauchos (14-11 overall, 6-6 in the Big West) posted career bests on the stat sheet. Garbisch had three service aces and a match-high 22 kills with 18 digsin her 11th double-double of the season. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin posted a double-double on the evening with 12 kills and a career-high 23 digs, while senior libero Emily Hendrickson had a career-high 29 digs. Freshman Stephanie Brandt put up 52 assists on the night, a best she will surely have trouble topping in the seasons to come.
The Gauchos took the first game of the match 30-23 after going on a six-point run with the score tied 10-10, out-hitting Fullerton .256 to .136. UCSB put up an early lead in the beginning of game two, but the Titans rallied with a 10-3 run to knot the score at 20. After the tie, they went on a 5-0 run and held the lead to take the second frame 30-25.
The third game saw the best hitting of the night with Fullerton hitting an impressive .325 to win the frame 30-22. Down 2-1 in the match, Santa Barbara came out strong after tying it at 7-7 and went on to record the largest victory margin of the night at 30-19, a score that forced a fifth game.
With the score tied 5-5 early in the final game, the Titans rallied with a 5-2 run, making it 10-7 late in the game. A kill ended the 52-game losing streak against the Gauchos as Fullerton sent them packing with a 15-10 victory.
“We beat them pretty bad in the first game and we had the lead in the second game, but they came back and ended up taking it,” Garbisch. “We played really well in the fourth game, but in the fifth they just made less errors than we did. We had a lot of balls go out.”
The Titans’ Breanna Trudeau put up the third double-double of the night with 18 kills and 22 digs while Vanessa Vella tied Hendrickson’s career-best dig count with 29 scoops in the win.
The Gauchos will play their final two home games this coming weekend against Pacific on Friday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday.
“We beat both [Pacific and Northridge] in three the last time we played them,” Garbisch said. “We just need to come out ready to play because we are good when we are ready, but when we kind of take it easy, we don’t do so well.”