The UCSB women’s volleyball team is well on its way to securing a playoff spot after sweeping UC Davis on the road 30-12, 30-19 and 30-19 this past Friday. The Gauchos have won four of their last five matches – putting them at 17-11 on the season – and must win their two remaining matches in order to earn a playoff berth.
The Gauchos’ last loss – which came when Cal State Fullerton beat them 3-2 on Nov. 4 – seems to have put the fire back into their game. The loss was the first time UCSB ever lost to Fullerton, and that combined with the threat of losing a spot in the playoffs has inspired the team.
“I think that loss to them definitely woke us up,” senior outside hitter Jamie Garbisch said. “And we have really been getting worked in practice because, as [Head Coach] Kathy [Gregory] would say, ‘We’re on the bubble.'”
UCSB out-hit the Aggies .328 to .000, and out-blocked their opponent six to three. Senior middle blocker Olivia Waldowski led Santa Barbara with 13 kills, a .667 hitting percentage and four blocks on the night. Just behind Waldowski was Garbisch who tallied her 13th double-double of the season with 11 kills, 13 digs and four service aces in the win.
Other notables on the night include freshman setter Stephanie Brandt who had 35 assists and senior libero Emily Hendrickson who matched Garbisch’s 13 digs.
“We really had tough serving and played aggressively,” Garbisch said. “We kept our errors down, too.”
After taking an early lead in the first game of the night, UCSB again out-hit the Aggies .375 to .000 with Garbisch leading the way, putting down six kills. Garbisch was followed by fellow outside-hitter sophomore Lauren McLaughlin who put up four kills and two service aces to seal the Gauchos’ largest victory margin this season at 30-12.
The beginning of game two saw four ties until Santa Barbara went on an 11-6 run to put the score at 20-15. The Gauchos sealed the second frame victory after going on a 10-4 run, holding their opponent to a .027 hitting percentage while committing just one error in 38 attempts for a .368 hitting percentage. Waldowski and McLaughlin led the frame with five kills each, while Garbisch contributed two service aces.
Santa Barbara opened the third and what would be the final game of the match with a 10-4 run led by freshman outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno’s two service aces. UCSB was up 28-14 until Saraceno tacked on the final kill of the game, which ended with an Aggie error to complete the Gauchos’ 3-0 sweep. The match marked the second time this season that Davis – who will enter the Big West Conference next season – was swept by UCSB.
The Gauchos next head to Long Beach, Calif. for the Baden Thanksgiving Classic held Friday, Nov. 24. The team will most likely gain a playoff position if the Gauchos continue their three-match win streak when they face Albany at noon and Western Michigan at 5 p.m.
“Our assistant coach told us that one of the teams has already won their league, qualifying them for the NCAA playoffs,” Garbisch said. “If we don’t beat these two teams, it would be a lot harder for us to get in. So we definitely need to win.”