The senior duo of Michelle Ohwobete and Tasia Farmer carried the offensive load for the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team in a rare Big West victory at Long Beach State on Saturday night.
Ohwobete pounded 16 kills and Farmer tallied 15 to lead the Gauchos to a 25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 25-20 win at The Pyramid. It was their first victory at The Beach since 2011.
First-year coach Matt Jones has UCSB off to one its best start in years. The Gauchos are 12-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Big West.
Jones was pleased how the team rebounded from the second-set loss.
“I am so proud of the team’s ability to bounce back after a tough second set,” he said.
“Overall, we did a nice job defending in their 5-1 rotations. They pass very well, but we made it just tough enough.
“I’m excited to get back in the gym on Monday and figure out how we can continue to improve as our matches will get tougher and tougher as the season goes on.”
The seniors took charge for UCSB. Ohwobete picked up 12 digs to finish with a double-double and Farmer hit .379 and had seven blocks.
Libero Macall Peed and Briana McKnight were huge forces on defense. Peed led the team with 19 digs while McKnight added 14 to go with six blocks, three of them solos.
McKnight also got it done at the service line. In the first set, she broke a 20-20 tied with a four-point service run.
After dropping the second set, McKnight and Grace McIntosh gave UCSB an early lead with strong serving. The Gauchos weather a Beach comeback before pulling ahead late in the set.
In the fourth set, UCSB held The Beach to a .091 hitting percentage, and Ohwobete put on a show with six kills in the set to lead the Gauchos to the rare win at The Pyramid.
After a month of playing on the road, the Gauchos return to the Thunderdome to face Cal State Fullerton on Friday and UC Irvine on Saturday. The team will welcome back all of their alumni, including the 2003 and 2013 Big West Championship teams, against the Anteaters.