In the season’s first chapter of the Blue-Green Rivalry, the UCSB women’s volleyball team came away with a 3-1 victory over Cal Poly.
The Gauchos improved to 7-8 overall and are now tied for third in the Big West with a 2-1 conference record. The Mustangs fell to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the Big West.
“This is an awesome win for the team, not only [because] they’re our rivals, but they’ve been playing really well,” senior opposite Katey Thompson said. “We just really had to go out this time, bring our game and play Gaucho volleyball.”
The first set saw UCSB get off to a slow start as Cal Poly opened with a 10-5 lead. The Gauchos came right back with four straight points and ended up taking a 25-24 lead off a kill by freshman outside hitter Ali Spindt. However, the Mustangs took advantage of some costly UCSB errors and won the set 27-25.
“We realized the [in] first game we caused a lot of errors on our side and that helped them win,” Thompson said. “After we took care of those [errors] it was a lot easier for us to be in system and execute when we needed to.”
The Gauchos trailed for much of the second set, but with the score tied at 20-20, they were able to score four straight points and pull away. A block by sophomore outside hitter Ali Barbeau and freshman middle blocker Allie Sullberg gave the Gauchos a 25-22 win and tied the match at 1-1.
“We were resilient,” Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “We made some little adjustments, we cleaned up our side and put a little more pressure on them and that’s what we needed to do.”
The third set was over before it began for Cal Poly as UCSB jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead. Spindt eventually finished it off with a kill to make it 25-16 and give the Gauchos a 2-1 advantage.
UCSB again found itself trailing in the fourth set 16-13, but once again they made a run and took a 22-19 lead. Sophomore opposite Jaylen Villanueva ended the game with a kill to make it 25-22 and give the Gauchos a 3-1 win.
“Throughout the season so far we’ve kind of been a comeback team and we’ve had a lot of slow starts,” senior outside hitter Leah Sully said. “I think everyone on the team knows that we’re capable of making that push at the end.”
Spindt continued a stretch of fantastic performances with 13 digs and a career-high 17 kills. Thompson also stayed consistent with 16 kills of her own. Sophomore setter Hanna Nielson added a double-double with 27 assists and 14 digs.
“We kept our composure really well,” Thompson said. “We just knew what we had to do and [we] know regardless of what the score is, it’s not over until it hits 25.”
The win is the Gauchos’ second straight overall and fourth in a row over Cal Poly, dating back to 2011.
Next up for UCSB is a trip to No. 6 Hawaii, which will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Stan Sheriff Center.
This article appeared on page 6 of October 7, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Magali Gauthier of The Daily Nexus.