WVB: Gauchos even Big West record with sweep at UCR

UCSB cruised past UC Riverside in a dominant 3-0 sweep on Saturday night in Riverside.

Santa Barbara improves to 10-11 with the win and even their conference record at 5-5. With the loss, Riverside’s record slides to 2-20 overall and remain winless in league play at 0-10.

UCSB saw several players make an impact on offense, as the team finished attacking at a .253 clip. Ali Barbeau led the team in kills for the third consecutive match with nine kills, while Chanel Hoffman was behind her with seven. Also adding six kills were both Phoebe Grunt and Jaylen Villanueva.

Grunt also had a big match at the net, as she recorded a floor-leading five block assists. Not to be forgotten, Hoffman added four block assists of her own, as she had an overall solid defensive performance with a team-high 10 digs. The Gauchos frustrated UC Riverside’s offense all night, as the Highlanders were limited to just a .113 hitting percentage.

The Gauchos crushed the Highlanders in the opening set, coming out on top in a lopsided 25-13 final score. UCSB took hold of the lead quickly with a 9-3 run in opening the match. Hoffman recorded back-to-back service aces to create the team’s initially separation, while Villanueva recorded the Gauchos’ first kill to make it 5-2.
That kill was the first of three unanswered UCSB points, as Phoebe Grunt and Britton Taylor made a block, while Ali Barbeau followed that play with a kill.

Overall, the Gauchos’ offense had a field day, as it picked up 14 kills in the set. After Villanueva’s opening kill, Barbeau led the team with six, Hoffman picked up three, while Grunt and Taylor made two each.

The Gauchos grabbed a double-digit lead at 16-6 after Ali Santi dealt a service ace following a Hoffman kill.

Riverside struggled throughout the game, piling up eight errors, and gave UCSB the set-clincher off a service error.

After a thumping in the opening game, the Highlanders made set two more competitive and started off with a 6-2 run. It was a lead that they would maintain through most of the game until UCSB pulled out ahead for the first time at 22-21. The Gauchos came close to taking the lead earlier, but could not capitalize after tying the game on three different occasions.

But after a UCR service error knotted the score at 21-21, UCSB took advantage and forced Bri Holmes into an attacking error in garnering their first lead. Villanueva made it a 3-0 Gaucho run with a service ace, while two unforced Riverside errors ultimately gave UCSB the 25-22 win.

In the third game, the teams battled closely to a multitude of tie scores, but the Gauchos took hold of the momentum with a 9-2 run to break a 13-13 tie. Taylor swung for two kills in three plays to start the run, while the Gauchos also forced three attacking errors. UCSB was also serving well, as Barbeau and Spindt each had a service ace in giving their team a 22-15 lead.

Despite Riverside answering back with a 4-0 run, the Gauchos were able to close out the match with three straight points. Grunt and Hoffman first gave Santa Barbara match-point with a block, while Villanueva sealed the win with night’s final kill.