Gauchos Drop Pair of Matches, Sully Named All-Tournament

Gauchos Drop Pair of Matches, Sully Named All-Tournament

MALIBU, Calif.— UC Santa Barbara dropped its two matches on the final day of the Pepperdine Invitational to Colorado State (3-1) and Virginia (3-2), respectively. Despite losing its three matches in Malibu, UCSB's Leah Sully was named to the all-tournament team after she racked up 54 kills over the weekend.

After being named to the All-Cal Molten Classic team last weekend, Sully has now been named all-tournament for the second time in this young season.

The Gauchos' record moves to 2-4 after the loses, while Colorado State remains undefeated at 5-0 and Virginia progresses to 4-2.

Match One

In its 3-1 loss to Colorado State, UCSB saw three of its players reach double-digit kill figures: Leah Sully (16), Ali Barbeau (12), and Ali Spindt (11). Spindt set a career-high with both her kills mark and kill percentage (.321).

Defensively, Kara Sherrard led the match with 18 digs. Spindt and Sully followed her with 13 and 10, respectively.  

The first set was perhaps the most competitive in the match, as the Gauchos went into extra points for the first time this season.

The Rams took control early with a 6-1 lead, but an Ali Spindt kill put the Gauchos back on track and sparked a 17-12 run, tying the set at 18. Sully and Spindt combined for seven kills during that stretch.

The teams kept the score close, until Colorado State held the 25-24 advantage. After calling a timeout, the Gauchos were able to respond on the next play with Sully's seventh kill of the set. Despite the hard fought comeback, the Rams did just enough to come out on top 28-26.

UCSB stumbled in the second to a 25-15 loss, but they avoided the sweep with a dominant third set performance.

With the teams tied at nine, the Gauchos made a break on a pivotal 8-3 run, triggered yet again by a kill from Spindt. The scoring spree was capped off with three straight UCSB kills courtesy of Sully, Ali Santi, and Phoebe Grunt.

In addition to her kill, Santi led the team with 24 assists against the Rams, while Grunt swung for six total kills and made a pair of block assists.

The Gauchos were in control for the rest of the set and moved the match to four sets after the 25-17 victory.

Colorado State took the early lead in the fourth and never looked back for their 25-20 win to wrap-up the match.

Match Two

In its tournament finale, UCSB dropped a 3-2 decision to Virginia. Leah Sully and Ali Barbeau led the team with 17 kills apiece while both finished with double-doubles. Sully found 15 digs, while Barbeau had 12.

With her performance, Barbeau set career-highs in kills and digs en route to her first double-double at UCSB.

Sully and Barbeau weren't the only Gauchos busy making digs, as Hanna Nielson (12), Ali Spindt (14), and Kara Sherrard (24) all reached double-digits in the category.  

It was a career game for Spindt who set her all-time marks in kills and digs, while Sherrard also set her career-high with 24 digs.

The teams split the first two sets with convincing victories. However, the third set would prove to be more competitive as the Gauchos edged out the Cavaliers 25-23.

In the third, UCSB never lost the lead, but their largest advantage was only four points. After being up 22-19, the Gauchos allowed three unanswered points from Virginia who tied the set. Ali Barbeau regained the lead for UCSB with a kill and was complimented with another kill from Sully, putting UCSB ahead with the 24-23 score. An attacking error from Virginia would eventually give the Gauchos the deciding point, giving them the 2-1 lead.

Virginia won a tightly contested set of their own in the fourth (25-22), forcing UCSB into their third five-set match of the season. In the set, the Cavaliers took an early advantage with a 10-5 lead over the Gauchos.

With a shortened set, five points can be a daunting deficit, but Santa Barbara rallied back to make the score 11-9. However, Virginia would respond with a 3-1 run, giving itself match point at 14-10. Undeterred by the sizeable advantage their opponent had, Allie Sullberg and Leah Sully recorded back-to-back kills to keep UCSB's chances alive. Virginia, however, was finally able to end the match with a kill of their own from Mallory Woolridge, giving them the 3-2 victory.

UCSB continue their schedule on the road next weekend in San Diego, Calif. for the USD Tournament. In addition to playing the Toreros, the Gauchos will face No. 3 USC and Eastern Washington.