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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 9:49 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
College Volleyball

UCSB Swept by Cal Poly

After a grueling 25-23 loss in the first set, UCSB (11-7, 2-3) fell to Cal Poly (10-6, 3-2) in straight sets (25-23, 25-21, 25-16) in the Thunderdome on Saturday night.

"I thought that they were the better team out of system," UCSB coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "Both of our teams were out of system quite a bit and I thought that they handled it better."

Chanel Hoffman was set up a team-high 39 times in the match and finished with a match-high 13 kills with a .179 hitting percentage. She also finished with her fifth double double, improving on her team total. Rowan Ennis was second on the team with 9 kills (.273), while she and Hoffman both paced the roster with a pair of block assists.

In the digs column, the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Week Emilia Petrachi picked up a match-high 15 digs in the three-setter.

The first set showed the match at its most competitive, as UCSB looked to mount a late-game comeback after being down 17-14. Bing down three and coming out of a timeout, the Gauchos looked to Hoffman to spark a run and she delivered with back to back kills, the first two of three straight UCSB points. With Hoffman finding her rhythm on offense, Sydney Bast was at the line during that sequence putting Cal Poly out of its system and later capped off the run with an ace, giving the Gauchos a lead at 18-17.

From there, the teams battled to four tie scores and two lead changes, but Cal Poly was able to break away with a 4-2 run to end the set.

That game would set the tone in the second set, which featured a slew of long rallies, a majority of which ended in Cal Poly's favor. At one point, the Gauchos were down 14-7 and coach Welch decided to start using a 6-2 rotation, a decision that would yield some key runs including a one a 4-1 stretch that cut the Mustangs' lead to three. However, Cal Poly's initial lead proved too much to overcome as the Mustangs closed out the set 25-21.

"We weren't passing that great out of system, and if you're playing out of system and you only have one hitter, they can set up their defense well," Welch said. "So I just thought that it would give us a different look. It gave us a spark and we went on a run in the second, but the bottom line is we have to serve and pass a lot better and we need to take care of our defensive assignments."

In the third, Cal Poly used another hot start to take control early at 9-3 and the team never looked back, as the set ended 25-16.

Cal Poly owed much of its success tonight to its setter Taylor Nelson – a 2015 all-conference first teamer – who finished with a match-high 36 assists.

"Their setter did a pretty good job of putting up hitable sets and putting pressure on us regardless of what kind of first contact they had," Welch noted.

Leading the Mustangs in kills were Raeann Greisen and Adlee Van Winden who each finished with 13.

"I think tonight is an opportunity for growth, but it depends on how we respond," Welch said. "We need to take a look at this and learn and get better because they had it too easy in scoring on us tonight."

UCSB will continue its season on the road next week at UC Riverside and at Cal State Fullerton. The Riverside match will be featured on ESPN3, which will mark the Gauchos' second appearance on the network this season.

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