Defensive Stalemate Goes Hawaii's Way After Five Sets

Photo by Jeilo Gauna
Photo by Jeilo Gauna

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the first time since 2014, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team took Hawaii the distance, providing some of their most competitive play of the season Friday night in front of an energetic Thunderdome crowd.

After dropping sets two and three, the Gauchos responded with a spirited win in set four. Unfortunately for the home side, set five would go Hawaii's way, as the Rainbow Wahine claimed six of the first seven points en route to a 15-10 win. The first four sets went 25-19, 14-25, 21-25, 25-19.

"We were pleased with a lot of the things we did tonight," head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "In particular, our defensive effort was tremendous, and we gave Hawaii's offense some problems. We weren't as efficient offensively as we would've liked to be, but anytime you're going point-to-point with another great team and it can go either way, it's just unfortunate, but for the most part we put a pretty good effort on the court."

In what was a defensive struggle throughout, the Rainbow Wahine came away with a .138 to .081 advantage in hitting percentage, season-lows for both teams. Neither team finished a set hitting at over a .200 clip, save for Hawaii's .323 outburst in set two.

Attacking errors plagued both sides throughout, almost evenly, as UCSB finished with 30 for the first time in 2018 to Hawaii's 31.

Hawaii also took an 89-80 edge in digs, as both team's liberos put forth exceptional efforts to lead their respective defenses. The Rainbow Wahine's Reyn Akiu tied a season-high with 26 scoops, but UCSB senior Emilia Petrachi shined with 29 digs, her second-highest total of the season and third-most ever in a single match. She had eight digs in set one alone and 10 in set three. It was the second time in the last six days that she's had 10 digs in a single set.

Redshirt junior Lindsey Ruddins was held in check for most of the night, but still managed a season-high 16 kills to go along with 11 digs and three blocks. Redshirt sophomore Rowan Ennis had easily the most efficient outing of the night for UCSB, posting a .267 hitting percentage and a season-high 12 kills. She also six blocks for the second time in three matches.

Junior Torre Glasker also had a strong defensive match, finishing with 13 digs and five kills. Freshman Megan Lewis provided a spark late, going for four kills after being subbed in for the final two sets.

UCSB will be now hit the road for the rest of the month, beginning a four-match home stand against Cal Poly next Friday, Oct. 12. The Gauchos next home outing won't be until Nov. 2, also against the Mustangs.