UCSB Sweeps Cal Poly, Picks Up Eighth Straight Win

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara swept its rival Cal Poly with scores of 25-20, 25-12, 26-24 to earn its eighth straight victory. The winning streak is the program's longest since 2005. The Gauchos dominant play follows two other sweeps the team garnered against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last week.

"We will happily take any three game sweep we can," Head Coach Lantagne Welch said. "So it was nice to finish them off. Ali Barbeau did a nice job offensively, along with Jaylen Villanueva who was effective coming off the bench."

Barbeau for the second consecutive match led UCSB's offense with 16 kills. She hit .289 on the night and also added four block assists to the Gaucho effort. 

Villanueva recorded 5.5 points for the Gauchos as she recorded four kills and two total blocks.

Perhaps the biggest factor in the UCSB win was the team's domination at the net. The Gauchos edged Cal Poly in total blocks 23 to 9. Phoebe Grunt led the floor with five block assists and a pair of solo blocks. 

On defense, Leah Sully came up with 14 digs to lead the match, while Ali Spindt was right behind the senior with 13.

"I thought Leah was the anchor for us in our serve-receive." Lantagne Welch said.

Sully has now recorded double-digit dig figures in four straight matches for UCSB.

The Gauchos and Cal Poly found themselves in a tightly contested match in the first game, but UCSB was able to separate with a late five-point run to clinch the game victory.

With the set tied at 20, UCSB fired off a five-point run after Spindt put the Gauchos ahead with a kill. Santa Barbara closed out the run with back-to-back blocks assists from Phoebe Grunt. The freshman middle blocker combined with Barbeau to get the set point and with Katey Thompson went on to deny Cal Poly's Anna Gorman a kill to win the game.

UCSB kept with the momentum they had at the end of the first by busting out of the gates with a 10-2 run. Spindt opened the game with a kill, while Grunt posted two consecutive solo blocks to give the Gauchos a 4-0 lead. Ali Barbeau delivered three straight kills.

The Mustangs stopped the UCSB's scoring frenzy with three straight points of their own to bring themselves within five points. However, that would be the closest Cal Poly would ever get to the Gauchos in the set.

UCSB easily took the second game with a 25-12 final tally.

Cal Poly tried to avoid the sweep with their effective play to open the third set. The Mustangs were able to pull out to a 15-11 after scoring six-straight points. 

Their lead was short-lived, though, as the Gauchos answered back with a 9-2 stretch to take the 20-17 lead. Ali Spindt put UCSB back on track with a kill, while a Mustang attacking error and a block from Grunt and Thompson kept the run going.

The game was battled into extra points after Cal Poly tied the match at 24 all with consecutive kills from Hannah Schleis.

The Gauchos didn't wait long to regain their lead as Jaylen Villanueva and Phoebe Grunt denied Schleis of a third-straight kill with a block. To end the match, UCSB looked to senior Katey Thompson who finished the sweep with her eighth kill of the night. 

After being on the road for the past three matches, UCSB will return to the Thunderdome next Saturday when they host Hawai'i at 6:30pm. The Gauchos handed the Rainbow Wahine their first loss in Big West play in a five-set thriller in Honolulu earlier this season.