Gauchos Sweep LIU in Season Opener

Tallulah Froley (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Tallulah Froley (Photo by Jeff Liang)

BOULDER, Colo. – The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team started the 2019 season on a strong note, sweeping LIU Brooklyn 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-20) to kick off the Buffs Invitational hosted by Colorado on Friday afternoon.

Senior standout Lindsey Ruddins picked up where she left off last season, pacing the team with 15 kills on 30 attempts for an efficient .400 hitting percentage. Redshirt freshman Tallulah Froley added nine kills while hitting .533 and freshman Deni Wilson was sensational in her debut with seven kills on 10 attempts (.700).

As a team, the Gauchos hit .318 (40-12-88) while holding the Sharks to a .133 (34-21-98) percentage.

Santa Barbara jumped out to a quick start in the first set, hitting an impressive .520 with 14 kills and just one error in the opening frame. After a 2-2 start, the Gauchos used a handful of blocks at the net to spark an 8-0 run and take an early 10-2 lead. From there, UCSB would cruise to finish off the set 25-17. 

UCSB utilized its strong blocking ability throughout the match, outblocking LIU 19 to 8. 

Wilson and Froley teamed up for a block to punctuate a 3-0 start to the second set and Zoe Fleck kept the scoring run alive with back-to-back service aces to give the Gauchos an early 9-3 advantage. LIU rallied back to take the lead midway through the set, however, UCSB turned to Ruddins down the stretch to propel the Gauchos to another 25-17 victory.

In the third and final frame, Ruddins (five kills), Froley (four kills) and Kija Rivers (four kills) were the focal points to polish off the sweep. 

Olivia Lovenberg and Romoni Vivao shared the setting duties tallying 21 and 15 assists, respectively, while Rowan Ennis led the way with four total blocks. Torre Glasker added a team-high eight digs while Fleck was close behind with seven and Lovenberg finished with six. Rivers finished with six kills and three blocks and Wilson also added three blocks. 

UCSB (1-0) will continue Buffs Invitational action tomorrow, Aug. 31, with a pair of matches beginning with Wyoming at 11:00 a.m. PT. The final match of the tournament for UCSB will take place against host Colorado tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. PT.