UCSB women’s volleyball will host its final two home games of the season this weekend as they face Big West opponents Pacific on Friday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday night. Winning has become crucial for Santa Barbara (14-11 overall and 6-6 in the Big West) if it wants to ensure a spot in the playoffs in light of the 3-2 loss to Cal State Fullerton last weekend.
“We need to win the rest of our games and hopefully they will still let us in,” senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch said. “If we lose just one game they probably won’t.”
This weekend’s match ups should not be too big of a challenge for UCSB who swept both teams on the road earlier this season. The Gauchos defeated Pacific (7-16, 3-7 Big West) 30-24, 30-25, and 30-22, and Northridge (15-8, 6-4 Big West) 30-26, 30-19, and 30-23.
“Our chances of winning are good this weekend,” Garbisch said. “We have beat both of them in three the last times we played them.”
Santa Barbara must come up big this weekend after falling to Fullerton for the first time in the history of the 53 game series between the two teams. Although they are ranked fourth in the Big West, defeating two Big West opponents in their final home game could help boost the Gauchos through their final games of the season and help earn them a playoff spot. Santa Barbara lost six conference games for the first time in a season since 1989.
Although the Gauchos look back to a tough loss against the Titans, three players had personal bests on the team including freshman setter Stephanie Brandt who recorded 17 digs, sophomore hitter Lauren McLaughlin who slammed 25 service aces and senior libero Emily Hendrickson who tallied 29 digs. Senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch also put up her 11th double-double of the season by way of her 22 kills and 18 digs.
“For us to win we need to play quick defense and cut down our errors and play as a team,” Garbisch said. “As long as we do these things I think we will win the rest of our games.’
Despite sweeping them in the only meeting this season, Pacific still holds the series against UCSB at 44-23 all-time. The Gauchos had the upper hand in the last go-around, hitting .351 as a team against the Tigers. They dominated individually as well, with outside hitters Garbisch and McLaughlin putting up 11 kills apiece in the win. Hendrickson also had a team-high 25 digs and middle blocker Brett Quirarte had nine kills on 15 attempts with no errors for a stunning .600 hitting percentage.
The Tigers have many weapons on the floor including Alexa Anderson, who had a double-double with 13 kills and 17 digs in the two squads’ Oct. 21 meeting.
Santa Barbara should have even less trouble with Cal State Northridge, who it out-blocked 13-3 and out-hit .233-.096 in the Oct. 19 road match. Quirarte had a career-high 11 block assists and Olivia Waldowski and Garbisch had 10 kills each in the three game sweep. Freshman Rebecca Saraceno also had double-digit kills, leading the team with 11 on the night.
Seniors Waldowski, Hendrickson and Garbisch will be honored in their final home match Saturday evening that will be held in Robertson Gymnasium due to a conflict with the men’s basketball game in the Thunderdome.