November 15, 2013

Gauchos Pull Out Tough 3-0 Sweep in Davis

DAVIS, Calif. – Behind Ali Spindt's 14 kills and 17 digs, UCSB pulled off the road sweep over UC Davis on Thursday night. Though the Gauchos came away with the 3-0 final, the Aggies did not go down easy with final sets scores of 25-21, 25-23, and 25-23.

"We had a great team effort tonight," UCSB Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "I especially liked our resiliency to fight back when down at various times in the match."

The Gauchos' gritty win puts them back in the win column and moves their conference mark to 9-2, keeping them well in contention for the Big West title. With their sixth sweep over a conference opponent, UCSB is now 14-9 overall and remain undefeated as the visiting team in league play. 

In the first set, the Gauchos pulled off the win after coming back from a 16-10 deficit.

To climb out of the six-point hole, Allie Sullberg connected on one of her five kills of night to get her team started on a 12-3 run. 

Coming off the bench, Jaylen Villanueva picked up three kills and a block assist during the stretch. 

With the Gauchos up 22-21, an Aggie service error triggered three-straight UCSB points to close out the first. Ali Barbeau registered a kill to give her team set point, while Katey Thompson and Sullberg sealed the victory with a block.

Spindt did everything for UCSB in the first, as she tallied nine kills and nine digs in the set. The outside hitter's final figures earned her the 10th double-double of her freshman campaign.

To start the second set, UC Davis jumped out to an 11-8 lead. It proved to be short-lived, though, as Spindt gave UCSB its first lead of set at 12-11 with back-to-back service aces.

The Gauchos found their offensive rhythm in the second game and eventually took a 23-17 lead. However, Davis held off UCSB and fired off five unanswered points to make it a single score game at 23-22.

Spindt quelled the 5-0 Aggie run with a kill, putting the Gauchos back on track. 

Thompson threw down the game-clinching kill when she connected with an assist from Hanna Nielson

Overall, the UCSB setting duo of Nielson and Ali Santi combined for 39 assists as six Gauchos recorded at least six kills.

"Our setters did a great job tonight," Lantagne Welch said. "They ran a balanced offense throughout the entire match."

The third set featured a hotly contested battle between the teams, as no lead grew beyond three points.

Down 15-12, the Gauchos overcame the deficit by stringing together five straight points with four consecutive kills and a Leah Sully service ace. Adding a kill to the run was Phoebe Grunt who recorded four of her eight total kills in the third set. 

A tight match till the very end, the Gauchos propelled themselves to match-point at 24-22 when Sullberg and Villanueva denied Devon Damelio of a kill.

To end the decisive game 25-23, the Aggies' kills leader Victoria Lee sent her final attack sailing out of bounds.

UCSB will continue this week's play on the road, as they visit Cal State Northridge for an ESPN3 broadcasted match on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. Battling for the Big West title, the second place Gauchos look to gain ground on the first place Matadors. You can watch the broadcast here.

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