The UCSB women’s volleyball team lost both matchups this weekend, extending its losing streak to four games. The two losses also drop Santa Barbara to seventh in the Big West conference. UCSB is now 13-16 on the year and is 6-8 in the Big West conference after losses to UC Davis and Pacific.
On Saturday night, UC Davis trounced the Gauchos with a three-set sweep improving to 15-13 on the season and 9-6 in the Big West. The first set was close from start to finish. Neither team was able to build a lead larger than three with the set dominated by great defense, causing nearly every point to be decided after long volleys.
The second set began with a line-up error which caused the Gauchos to make numerous substitutions. The offense never got going as UCSB dropped the set 25-14.
“After the first set we started off with a weird sub in the beginning [of the second set],” freshman libero Taylor Formico said. “We were hectic and there were different subs, which shouldn’t affect us, but I think we let it, and it took the momentum out of the game in the second set.”
In the third set, the Gauchos found more fight as the game saw 16 tie scores and nine lead changes before finally being decided by extra points, finishing 29-27. Davis had unmatched intensity through the three sets on the night, especially late in the third set when the Aggies sideline erupted with every late point.
“Saturday was disappointing because Davis was so possessed to beat us because we beat them [last time],” Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “They were playing that game like a playoff game, and our girls did not match their energy.”
The Aggies defense had five players record double-digit digs on the night and the offense was led by senior outside hitter Allison Whitson, who recorded 20 kills.
“After the game, we talked a lot in the locker room for an hour or a little over an hour,” Formico said. “We all said something about how we felt about this season and about our frustration with the loss which helped us get back to being more team-oriented. Hopefully as a team we will fight these last four games.”
On Friday night, UCSB welcomed Pacific to the Thunderdome where the two teams battled through five thrilling sets for the second time this season. The Tigers ultimately came out on top but only after the teams took the fifth set to a score of 21-19.
Great defense decided this game as both teams recorded at least 12 blocks and over 100 digs.
“They had some really good digs at the end,” junior outside hitter Leah Sully said. “I know at least my hits, they were digging everything. We knew coming in that was going to be a factor and it definitely was.”
Formico broke the UCSB and Big West conference single season dig record, recording 32 on the night, and with four more games remaining this year is poised to obliterate the previous record.
Up next for Santa Barbara is a road trip to UC Riverside on Friday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.