The UCSB women’s volleyball team came back in three straight sets to defeat Cal Poly 3-2 in its first Big-West conference match of the season,
With the win, the Gauchos further their record to 6-6 overall, and 1-0 in Big West.
“I felt like we were going to do it,” sophomore outside hitter Ali Spindt said. “We started making our way back, and I felt like that was one of the reasons why everyone believed that we could do well.”
Taking an early lead in the first set, the Gauchos set out on a 7-3 run to begin. However, the Mustangs took their first lead of the match after a three-point run to tie it 8-8. The set went back and forth until the end when Cal Poly grabbed momentum and carried the lead throughout to win the first set 25-23. Cal Poly continued its pace into the second set for a 25-21 victory.
Down two sets going into the third, the Gauchos dominated the set with a 25-20 win and overcame a 19-12 Mustang lead in the fourth set to win 25-23 after the frame was tied 23-23. The team finished its rally with a 15-11 win in the fifth set.
“We can grind it out,” Head Coach Nicole Lantange Welch said. “It may not be pretty at times but we can come back at any moment.”
Among the top scoring players of the game were junior opposite Britton Taylor with 18.5 points and 17 kills; she lead the team in overall points and kills.
“I felt really ready and prepared, and going into it I always try to be confident,” Taylor said. “I know with my teammates around me, they always have my back.”
Not far behind Taylor topping the Gaucho offense was junior opposite Jaylen Villanueva with 16.5 points, and 15 kills.
Defensively, Spindt, playing at libero, had 19 digs in the match to lead the team and sophomore middle blocker Allie Sullberg had four block assists.
“We did it with our blocks and our defense,” Lantagne Welch said. “We put pressure on their hitters and suddenly they didn’t have an easy out for a kill.”
Topping the team for Cal Poly was freshman outside hitter Raeanne Greisen who had 22 kills, 14 blocks and 24 overall points for the Mustangs.
“We were a little bit flat to start, and we need to fix that, but when we started grinding, and we had that look in our eyes and we knew good things were going to happen,” Lantagne Welch said.
The team will continue Big West play against UC Riverside next week in the Thunderdome.