UCSB Defense, Service Game Carries Team to 3-1 Win Over Cal State Fullerton

Kristen Berlo (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Kristen Berlo (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Gauchos started the weekend off strong with a 3-1 win against CSU Fullerton, bringing their overall record to an even 11-11 and their conference record to 6-5. With the loss, Cal State Fullerton slides to 7-16 and 1-9 in Big West play.

"We settled down with our serve and our defense really picked it up," UCSB Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "We made a change there going into the third and had two huge service runs."

The win wouldn't have been possible without a breakout performance from Kristen Berlo, who is getting back into the rhythm, and stunning service runs from Ali Barbeau and Britton Taylor. Berlo and Barbeau both led with 10 kills, while Barbeau also picked up 3 services aces. 

Ali Spindt led the defense with 11 digs, with Hanna Nielson adding 10. The defensive front line was also highly successful—Elizabeth Meddaugh and Berlo both picked up five block assists, assuring that the Gauchos would take the home court win. 

The Gauchos started off the first set with pressure from the Titans, who took the lead for most of the game until UCSB showed its pride and pulled through with the win, which was made possible with two consecutive kills from Berlo and a kill for both Barbeau and Taylor. Attacking errors from Fullerton sealed the win as the teams headed into the second match.

Fullerton was able to even the score in the second with a 25-22 final, bringing the match score to 1-1 at the break. 

In opening the third, the Gauchos blew past the Titans in taking a big lead in the middle of the second match thanks to a great service run by Taylor which led to nine straight UCSB points. To make the feat more remarkable, tt was the junior's first time at the service line this season. 

"I really enjoy playing defense, so I was excited to serve and get in there and just dig some balls," Taylor claims about her stellar 9-0 run at the line. 

The high serving performance would not stop there, as the Gauchos took the third match in stride and entered into the fourth. With Berlo, Barbeau, and Taylor each picking up 2 kills in the beginning of the game, they established an 11-7 lead just in time for Barbeau to serve, bringing the team to an 18-7 lead. From then on, the Titans struggles as the Gauchos put up a strong defense and finished the final game at 25-15. 

Tomorrow night, UCSB will take on UC Irvine at 7:00, for a memorable senior night game. Tickets are available at the Ticketing Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building, over the phone at 805.893.UCSB (8272), or online here.