Rowan Ennis
Rowan Ennis of UCSB slams a spike off a Harvard blocker. Ennis was named the MVP of the Thunderdome Classic. (Felipe Garcia / Noozhawk photo)

The UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team swept past La Salle 3-0 (31-29, 25-21, 25-22) on Saturday afternoon and polished off Harvard 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-10, 25-17) in the evening to conclude the Thunderdome Classic with a perfect 3-0 record.

Junior middle blocker Rowan Ennis was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament while Lindsey Ruddins and Tallulah Froley joined her on the All-Tournament Team.

UCSB (8-1) has now won six consecutive matches and back-to-back weekend tournaments.

“To be able to win, and win at home against quality opponents, it’s great,” said head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. “We take this and put it in our back pocket and move forward from here.”

UCSB 3, La Salle 0 (31-29, 25-21, 25-22)

The Gauchos kept up their strong play to start the day with a 3-0 sweep over La Salle, hitting .236 (50-20-127) to the Explorers’ .175 (44-20-137) while holding a 62-51 advantage in digs and a 21-17 edge in blocks.

Santa Barbara had to grind out a thrilling 31-29 first set victory, rallying from down 24-21, and staving off four set points down the stretch. Trailing 29-28, UCSB took advantage of a La Salle service error to even the score before Deni Wilson and Ruddins put together back-to-back kills to take the opening set. Ruddins was sensational in the opening frame with 10 kills on 19 attacks and no errors as the Gauchos hit .326 as a team. Tasia Farmer also had a big set with four kills.

Tasia Farmer

Tasia Famer of UCSB stuffs a Harvard attack. (Felipe Garcia / Noozhawk photo)

Ruddins finished with 18 kills and 10 digs for the double-double and Froley added nine kills. Zoe Fleck was everywhere on the defensive end and racked up 25 digs while Olivia Lovenberg and Romoni Vivao tallied 21 assists and 19, respectively. Both Ennis and Wilson finished with seven kills apiece while Ennis put up a monstrous eight blocks.

All-Tournament selection for La Salle, Samantha Graver, led the team with a game-high 20 kills and added 10 digs.

UCSB 3, Harvard 1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-10, 25-17)

In the nightcap, the Gauchos took care of business against Harvard as Ennis led the way with a strong all-around performance with 13 kills (.650), six blocks and five digs. In her first extended action of the year, Gigi Ruddins also made her presence felt with nine kills on .421 hitting and four total blocks.

Torre Glasker shined in the match as well, leading the way with 17 digs while adding 11 kills with the offense going through her. Froley hit an incredible .579 with 12 kills on 19 attacks and Wilson hit .778 with eight kills on nine attempts to go with her four blocks.

As a team, the Gauchos were the definition of efficiency, hitting .368 (60-14-125) while holding Harvard to a .202 clip (41-17-119).

Vivao finished with a game-high 25 assists while Lovenberg added 24.

“This group is hungry to improve and hungry to keep making strides so that’s what we have to go out and do,” Lantagne Welch said.

The Gauchos will look to keep their streak alive as they welcome UCLA (5-2) to the Thunderdome this Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 6:00 p.m.

All-Tournament Team

UCSB: Rowan Ennis (MVP)
UCSB: Lindsey Ruddins
UCSB: Tallulah Froley
USD: Anna Newsome
USD: Megan Jacobsen
La Salle: Samantha Graver
Harvard: Evelyn Gray