SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In securing both its first win and first sweep of the season, UCSB bombarded Fresno State and Sacramento State with efficient attacking and strong play at the net. Opposite Britton Taylor and setter Ali Santi were named all-tournament, as those Gauchos led the team's dominant offensive performances on day two of the Sacramento State Invitational.
Taylor topped UCSB with 31 kills (3.1 per set), as she hit for a collective .294 clip over the weekend. Overall, the UCSB offense finished the tournament with a .254 hitting percentage in part due to Santi who led Santa Barbara with 53 total assists, averaging 5.3 per set.
Behind Chanel Hoffman's double-double, UCSB won its first match of the season with a 3-1 victory over Fresno State at the Sacramento State Invitational.
Hoffman led the floor with 15 kills as she hit at an outstanding .500 clip. The freshman also picked up 10 digs, while Ali Spindt paced UCSB with 11 scoops.
Santa Barbara also had its best match at the net this season with 21 total blocks. Phoebe Grunt and Villanueva led the match with seven block assists.
In the decisive fourth set, the Gauchos jumped out to an early 14-7 lead. The deficit proved too much for the Bulldogs, as the Gauchos' service game helped stretch that lead to 20-14. During that run, Barbeau registered consecutive service aces. Overall, the Gauchos penciled seven aces in the box score.
Jaylen Villanueva stepped up in the match's final two points, as she recorded back-to-back kills to secure UCSB's first win of the season.
The Bulldogs and the Gauchos looked evenly matched in the early going of the first game. But UCSB made its break when Ali Barbeau broke a 14-14 tie with her second kill of the match. The junior followed that play with a solo block to put the Gauchos ahead by two points.
Barbeau continued with her impressive first set performance with a service ace to move UCSB ahead 21-18. The Gauchos' defense stifled the Bulldogs, allowing them only two more points, while Phoebe Grunt helped sealed the first set with a block assist followed by a kill.
With the 1-0 lead, the Gauchos made sure the second game was as competitive as they stormed out of the gates with an 18-6 lead. The Bulldogs were able to swing the momentum of the match back in the favor as they cut the deficit to two points at 21-19. However, Chanel Hoffman put UCSB back on the scoreboard with a kill that triggered a 4-1 run. Grunt again recorded the game-clinching kill.
The Bulldogs avoided the sweep with a 25-20 decision in the third, but the Gauchos were quick to bounce back in the fourth.
Following their first victory of the season, UCSB recorded its first sweep of the year with a dominant 25-19, 25-14, 25-15 display over Sacramento State. The Gauchos held the Hornets to a sparse -.043 hitting percentage, as Sacramento committed 27 attacking errors.
Britton Taylor led UCSB with nine kills, while Chanel Hoffman and Jaylen Villanueva added eight and seven, respectively.
The Gauchos had yet another solid performance at the net, totaling 16 blocks in the match. Allie Sullberg led UCSB in that category with five block assists and a solo block.
UCSB used a late offensive burst to pull away and clinch the first set with a 25-19 decision. The teams battled closely throughout the game until the score was tied at 19-19. From there, the Gauchos took hold of the lead and shut out the Hornets for the remainder of the set.
Villanueva started the run with a kill, while Barbeau contributed on three of the points with a kill, solo block, and block assist. Sullberg had the set-clinching kill after receiving a quick set from Ali Santi.
The Gauchos cruised in the second set, as they took an 8-1 run to break a 6-6 tie and never looked back. A pair of Hornet attack errors started the run, but the Gauchos continued it with blocking efforts from Sullberg and Taylor.
Sacramento State's offense continued to struggle, as it committed a total of 11 attacking errors in the second game alone. UCSB gladly took advantage of this and rode it to an easy 25-14 set victory.
The Gauchos continued to dominate in the third set, as it held the Hornets to under 20 points again. Taylor started the game with a kill and UCSB never gave up its lead. With the Gauchos on top 21-13, Villanueva was subbed in and helped clinch the match with three kills, two of which provided UCSB's final two points.
UCSB will continue its season in Berekely next week at the Cal Invitational. The Gauchos will open tournament play with Nevada on Sept. 12, as they will also play Pacific and the Golden Bears later in the weekend.