It was a sweet senior night for a quartet of Gauchos, as the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team held off a feisty UC Irvine program for a 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-23) sweep in the regular season finale on Saturday night in the Thunderdome.
Playing in the final home match of their careers, Chloe Allen, Torre Glasker, Charlie Robinson and Lindsey Ruddins were recognized at center court prior to the first serve.
The celebration carried on into the match, as the Gauchos jumped out to a red-hot start, hitting .448 with 14 kills and just one error to blow the Anteaters away, 25-12, in the opening frame. After taking a 12-8 lead out of the gate, UCSB ran away with it after a 7-0 run, highlighted by four block assists from Rowan Ennis and three from Ruddins.
UC Irvine bounced back in the second set, holding on to a 13-9 lead midway through the set, before UCSB responded with a 9-3 run to regain the lead. It was an all-around effort as Tallulah Froley sparked the rally with a kill before Ruddins entered the mix with a kill and an ace. Ennis added an ace of her own during the run while Glasker, Romoni Vivao, Deni Wilson and Kjia Rivers also added kills to help the Gauchos turn it around. With the score knotted at 20-20, Ennis and Ruddins led the way down the stretch to help UCSB pull out the game 25-23.
The third set went nearly point for point all the way down to the wire as UCI continued to battle and make it tough for UCSB. With the score tied at 21-21, it was a pair of seniors in Glasker and Ruddins that came through in the clutch with back-to-back kills. After UCI responded to make it 23-22, Glasker came up big yet again to give the Gauchos match point. UCI held off for one more point before a quick hitting play from Olivia Lovenberg to Wilson sealed the match.
Ruddins finished with a game-high 15 kills on .429 hitting while her 10 digs put her over the century mark in her career. Ruddins also pitched in four blocks to share game-high honors with Ennis, who totaled seven kills on a .462 clip with five digs and two aces. In her final home match, Glasker finished with nine kills on .333 hitting and five digs. Froley also finished with nine kills and Zoe Fleck led the way defensively with 16 digs. Lovenberg, meanwhile, paced the team with 22 assists while Vivao had 19.
As a team, Santa Barbara hit .404 while holding UCI to .278 and edged the Anteaters in blocks (13-6), digs (43-34) and aces (6-3).
UCI was led by 12 kills from Onye Ofoegbu.
UCSB (22-5, 12-4 Big West) finishes the regular season in third place in the Big West, and will await its postseason fate during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, set to air on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU.