HONOLULU, Hawaii – The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team concluded its four-match road trip on Sunday with its biggest win of the season, claiming a 3-0 sweep at Hawaii for its first win over the Rainbow Wahine since 2013. Set scores were 28-26, 25-22, 25-21.
The win comes just three weeks after the Gauchos (14-9, 6-5) nearly defeated UH in a close 3-2 loss at home. It was Santa Barbara's first sweep of Hawaii in more than 25 years. Prior to Saturday, the Rainbow Wahine (14-7, 10-2) had just one loss during conference play.
UCSB's Ruddins sisters both hit double-figure kills together for the first time this month, as Lindsey led all players with 11 and Gigi was second with 10. On defense, senior libero Emilia Petrachi tallied a match-high of 16 digs.
The opening set saw 14 ties and nine lead changes, but things appeared to be in the home side's favor with Hawaii leading 24-20 late on. Thanks to a Petrachi ace and several Hawaii attacking errors, UCSB would close the gap, tying things at 24-24. The Gauchos would survive six set points overall, sealing the 28-26 win on three straight kills, one belonging to Lindsey and the last two coming from Gigi.
Set two was similarly close throughout, with the score being tied at 18-18. From there, three straight Gaucho points would give them the separation they needed, as they closed it out on a 7-3 run with the final point coming on a Rowan Ennis kill. The redshirt sophomore middle blocker finished with seven kills and three blocks.
In the third and final set, UCSB took command early, using a 7-1 run capped off by a pair of Nicole Omwanghe blocks and a Lexi Rottman ace. The Gaucho lead would not drop below three points the rest of the way. For the second time on the night, Gigi Ruddins provided the winning kill, clinching a 25-21 win.
In a defensive match that was comparable to the two teams' last meeting 22 days prior, Santa Barbara once again held Hawaii to a season-low in hitting percentage, enjoying a .163 to .118 advantage. UCSB also had 19 attacking errors compared to 24 for the Rainbow Wahine.
The Gauchos ended a run of 10 straight defeats to UH dating back to their historic five-set road upset of then-No. 5 Hawaii on Oct. 12, 2013. That was the first time UCSB faced the Rainbow Wahine under head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
It was Santa Barbara's third sweep during conference play and its fifth of the season.
UCSB returns home next week for a single match against Cal Poly on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.