Santa Barbara, Calif. – Friday night, the Gauchos fell short to the Pacific Tigers in five games (25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 19-12).
With the loss, UCSB fell to 13-15, 6-7. The Tiger's win pushed their record to 19-8, 7-7. University of Pacific is now tied with Coastal Carolina for most five-game matches this season at 12.
Leading the Tigers, Anne-Sophie Bauer put down 9 kills in the second game, ending the night with 18. Megan Birch and Kat Schulz each picked up 15 kills.
As the Gauchos dominated the first game, Leah Sully led the way with 5 kills and 9 digs. However, they struggled to hold on as the Tigers pushed past them in game two.Everything came down to the final game. UCSB and Pacific traded games all night, foreshadowing the last points in the fifth game. Pacific took an early lead of 9-5, and at 9-13, it looked like the Tigers were going to run away with the match. However, the Gauchos would not let up. Leah Sully served the next 5 points and rallied her team up at 14-13.
The final game's excitement did not stop there. Tied fifteen all, both teams traded points up to 19-19. Alas, with a final few errors the Gauchos were unable to hold on, allowing Pacific to pull out a win at 19-21.
Despite the loss, Leah Sully had a spectacular night, including 26 kills and 28 digs. Even with a devastating service error in the final game, Katey Thompson was a major force for the Gauchos, putting up 17 kills and 14 digs.
Per usual, Taylor Formico's defense was on point. Picking up 32 digs, she ended the match with yet another 30 plus dig night. This was a historic night for Formico, as she set the UCSB Record for most digs in a single season. Previously, Chelsey Lowe held the record with 652 digs in 2011.
Even with the close loss, Coach Kathy Gregory focused on the positives of the night. "It's a tough loss, but they played their hearts out," she commented. "That's all what I wanted all season."
The Gauchos have another chance to play their hearts out Saturday night against UC Davis at the Thunderdome.