WVB: Gauchos stumble at Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UCSB’s (7-8, 3-11) offense was limited to a .169 hitting percentage, as UC Riverside (10-17, 5-9) took the 3-0 decision on Saturday night.

Continuing her recent strong offensive play, Jaylen Villanueva once again led the Gauchos with 12 kills and also dealt a service ace. Ali Barbeau and Devin Joos each added six kills, as Joos also swung for a team-high .375 hitting percentage.

Emilia Petrachi recorded her second consecutive and ninth total 20-dig performance of the season with 22 scoops. At the net, Britton Taylor accounted for four total blocks, while Annie Hasselmann and Elizabeth Sheffield added three block assists each.

In the opening set, the Highlanders used a 9-3 run to snap a tied score en route to a 25-15 win. Villanueva got going early in the game in registering the first three Gaucho kills, while Joos, Sheffield, and Taylor followed her lead in tying the score at 10-10. UCR then went on its game changing run with Helena Peric’s three kills in four points.

The Gauchos kept the score close in the second set when UC Riverside finished ahead 25-23. The Highlanders opened the game 7-3, but UCSB was able to tie the score following an 8-4 run. Villanueva stood out during that stretch with two kills and an ace, while Sheffield combined with Barbeau and Hasselmann on two blocks.

The teams would tie the score three more times, but UCR took the momentum and reached set point at 24-20. The Gauchos were able to stave off the loss thanks to a pair of Highlander errors and a block from Grunt and Hasselmann. But with a kill from Chelsea Doyle, UCR was able to clinch the game with their fourth chance at set-point.

In the third game, the Gauchos came up short in a comeback effort after facing a 21-13 UCR lead. UCSB fired off five consecutive points that featured a pair of kills from Sheffield. Joos delivered the opening kill of the run and the Highlanders committed two errors, as the Gauchos were able to put themselves within three points at 21-18.

UCSB then cut the deficit to two following another Villanueva kills and a block from Sheffield and Taylor. From there, though, Santa Barbara was held to just one more point as the Highlanders recorded three more kills to pull off the sweep.

The Gauchos will be back in the Thunderdome next Saturday to host nationally ranked Hawai’i at 7:30 p.m. UCSB will also be celebrating Senior Night before the match, as the team will honor Ali Barbeau, Shauna Klein, Hanna Nielson, Britton Taylor, and Jaylen Villanueva who will be playing in their final match in the Thunderdome.