UC Santa Barbara Women’s Volleyball (2-0) came into Day 2 of The Thunderdome Classic on a high note after starting the season with a 3-0 win over New Mexico State. 

The Gauchos kept the momentum rolling against the University of Denver Pioneers as they recorded their second sweep in as many matches, taking down the Pioneers 25-21, 25-15, 25-23.

“We are playing solid volleyball teams, so we’re not going to be perfect all the way through,” UCSB head coach Matt Jones said. “Tonight, we got to face a different challenge compared to last night in that third set where we gave up the lead.

“We are really proud of our players for how they handled the pressure. We thought it would take longer to rebound, but our team did it right away.”

The Gauchos could not get in a rhythm to start the first set as multiple errors were made by the home team while the visitors executed on their end. That didn’t last long as the Gauchos closed the gap early. 

These two teams tied up the match eight more times before Santa Barbara pulled ahead, being the first to 20. UC Santa Barbara kept control from there and finished this set on top with a score of 25-21.

The momentum gained from the first set carried over into the second, securing an early lead. With the help of the Gauchos’ offense hitting at a .536 clip led by pin hitters Michelle Ohwobete and Tasia Farmer, the home team grabbed the lead and closed out the second set 25-15.

When the Gauchos stepped back onto the court for the third set, the Pioneers wanted revenge. 

Denver started out with an 8-3 lead over the Gauchos. But Ohwobete’s service run and a pair of kills from Briana McKnight and Sophie Reavis helped the Gauchos come right back, tying the set up at 9-9. 

The Gauchos let Denver hang around for a few more points before Grace McIntosh and Macall Peed went on service runs that pushed their team into the lead. The Pioneers tried to battle back, but their efforts fell short as the Gauchos took the third and final set 25-23.  

Three different Gauchos finished the night with double-digit kills, including McKnight, Ohwobete and Andi Kreiling.

The Gauchos’ 6-2 offense continued tonight with McIntosh and Milan Rex leading the charge. McIntosh finished the match with the most assists, putting up 22, while Rex contributed 14.

On defense, Peed led the back row efforts again as she totaled 17 digs. When Peed wasn’t digging a ball, the front row seemed to grab a block as Kreiling finished the night with six. 

Reavis and McKnight were also crucial to the front-row defense, contributing three blocks apiece.

The Gauchos will play one more match in The Thunderdome on Saturday to round out the opening tournament of the season against the University of North Florida Ospreys. 

This match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. following the first match of the day between Denver and New Mexico. The Gauchos and Ospreys will face off on ESPN+ with live stats also available.