The UCSB women’s volleyball team had its six-match win streak snapped and suffered its first Big West Conference defeat at the Walter Pyramid Thursday, falling in four sets to Long Beach State, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22.
The Gauchos, now 8-7 overall and 4-1 in Big West play, won the first set handily and then dropped the next three to The Beach (7-6, 2-3).
For the second-straight match Gaucho Briana McKnight set a new career-high with 14 kills, swinging a .323 clip with eight digs. Tallulah Froley added 11 kills.
Deni Wilson added eight on a potent 8-1-15 line for a .467 average and added two blocks with one solo. Michelle Ohwobete nearly missed a double-double again with nine kills and 11 digs.
Macall Peed led all players with 17 digs and converted on all 26 serve receptions sent her way. Mehana Ma’a had a double-double with 25 assists and 10 digs.
The first set was all Gauchos, who never trailed and outhit Long Beach State .333-.139 while converting on 85% of their side-out chances. Froley had six kills in the set.
The second frame was a back-and-forth affair with 12 ties and four lead changes. The two teams met at 17-17 and from there The Beach closed it out on a 8-3 run to tie the match.
The Long Beach State defense came alive in the third, holding the Gauchos to a match-low .083 hitting percentage and just 10 kills and six errors. UCSB led early but quickly found itself behind before tying the frame at 20 apiece. Three-straight attack errors would put the visitors behind and give the home team the set and the lead.
The fourth and final set saw 10 ties and two lead changes but a hot Long Beach State offense managed to post a .400 hitting percentage. Once again, the teams met at 20-20 but The Beach found five kills on the next six plays to tarnish UCSB’s undefeated conference record. The Gauchos have yet to top The Beach in that building since 2011.
The Gauchos are back at it Saturday night in Titan Gym, taking on Cal State Fullerton at 5 p.m. on ESPN+.