Gauchos Battle But Fall Short 3-1 at No. 23 Cal Poly

Gauchos Battle But Fall Short 3-1 at No. 23 Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Behind a combined 33 kills from the Van Winden sisters, No. 23 Cal Poly pulled out a 3-1 home victory over UC Santa Barbara on Friday night at the Mott Center. Set scores were 27-25, 27-29, 25-21, 25-23. 

UCSB (6-17, 5-6 Big West) fought hard in the league showdown, with a number of Gauchos putting forth respectable displays. 

Redshirt sophomore Lindsey Ruddins led all players with 26 kills, while junior setter Annie Hasselmann had a night to remember with a career-high 54 assists, four digs, and nine blocks while steering the team to a .238 hitting percentage, not far behind Cal Poly's (22-2, 12-0) .274 clip. 

The Mustangs meanwhile had four players reach double-digit kills in the match, led by Torrey Van Winden's 20-kill performance. Setter Taylor Nelson had 51 assists and a match-high 24 digs. 

UCSB was a bit unlucky to drop the opening set after shaking off a 19-15 deficit to force extra points. Fortunately for Cal Poly, Torrey Van Winden put down a kill off the 25-25 tie to set up game point before a Gaucho attack error put the hosts up 1-0. 

The Gauchos rebounded in the second frame to even up the match, parlaying an early 8-1 advantage behind dominant service from senior defensive specialist Sydney Bast into a set victory. Cal Poly would storm back to tie the set at 17-17, but UCSB held its ground and eventually emerged victorious in extra points on a Kjia Rivers-Charlie Robinson (12 kills, team-high five blocks) double-block followed by a Ruddins kill. 

The Mustangs finished off the match with set victories in the third and fourth, reeling off a 7-2 run to clinch the third before sealing the decision by outlasting a late Gaucho run in the fourth, ending it on Savannah Niemen's 12th kill of the match.

UCSB hosts its final two home matches of the season next weekend. The Gauchos' two seniors, Bast and Chanel Hoffman, will be honored prior to Saturday's contest against UC Davis.