RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In its conference road opener Friday night, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team defeated UC Riverside in four sets for its first Big West win of the year, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 25-16.
The Gauchos (9-5, 1-1) were powered offensively by the sister duo of Lindsey and Gigi Ruddins. The older Lindsey finished with 17 digs and 25 kills, reaching that mark for the sixth time already this season. Making just the second appearance of her freshman season, Gigi stepped up to end her day with career-highs in kills (9), attempts (31) and digs (9).
Defensively, senior libero Emilia Petrachi went for a match-high 24 digs (6.00 D/S) while junior middle blocker Charlie Robinson tied a season-high with five block assists. Freshman setter Olivia Lovenberg was solid once again with 48 assists, eight digs and a pair of blocks.
Santa Barbara outhit UCR in three of four sets and .215 to .143 for the night. Both teams enjoyed their most efficient set in the opening game, as the Gauchos hit at a .271 clip compared to .220 for the Highlanders.
UC Riverside led by as many as three points in the game, but UCSB kept things close until a 21-21 tie following a Gaucho service error. Robinson and Lindsey Ruddins would both tally kills to give UCSB the lead, as the Gauchos closed the set out on a 4-0 run.
After the Highlanders responded to win their only set of the night, 25-19, in game two, UCSB would come out strong in set three to regain the lead. The Gauchos jumped out to a 12-4 advantage, with six of the points coming from the Ruddins sisters. They eventually won the set 25-21 for the second time in the match.
Another fast start in the fourth and final set saw the visitors take leads of 7-3 and 17-10. After the Highlanders cut the deficit to 19-16 on a kill by Reilly Bosworth, the Gauchos would end the night with six unanswered points, capped off by back-to-back aces by Petrachi. With the win, they improved to 8-1 in fourth sets in 2018.
Senior Lexi Rottman finished with three aces in four sets, giving her 14 over her last four matches.
UCSB returns to action tomorrow night at Cal State Fullerton in a 5:00 p.m. matchup at Titan Gym.