Gauchos Downed by UC Irvine 3-1 in Season Finale

Gauchos Downed by UC Irvine 3-1 in Season Finale

IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team closed out the 2017 season on Tuesday night, falling in four sets to UC Irvine despite a well-balanced attack. Set scores were 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18.

With the loss, UCSB finishes the campaign with an 8-20 overall record and a 7-9 mark in Big West play. The Anteaters meanwhile improved to 22-7, 10-6. The Gauchos had defeated UCI in the team's matchup earlier this season, pulling out a five-set victory on Nov. 10 at the Thunderdome. 

Reigning Big West Player of the Week Lindsey Ruddins paced UCSB on Tuesday with 18 kills, the first time since Oct. 6 that she was held below 20. Sophomores Chloe Allen and Charlie Robinson each had one of their most impactful offensive performances of the season, recording 16 kills on .286 hitting and 11 kills on .450 hitting, respectively. The 16 putdowns for Allen represented the second-most single-match kills for her this season, while it was Robinson's sixth double-digit kill outing of the year. 

Though it was a modest night on the attack by her lofty standards, Ruddins upped almost every other facet of her game, recording a season-high five aces, landing 13 digs for her team-high 12th double-double of the year, and equaling a season-high with a pair of solo blocks. Junior libero Emilia Petrachi finished off a productive and consistent year with a match-high 17 digs against the Anteaters. 

UCI was able to balance its attack even more than the Gauchos, as four Anteater hitters finished with 10 or more kills, led by MaKayla Wolf's 16. Wolf also had a match-high seven blocks. In addition, three UCI players finished with a double-double, including setter Ali Koumelis who had 49 assists and 10 digs. UCI outhit the Gauchos .359 to .232. 

Robinson was the biggest factor for UCSB in the second, the lone set the visitors were able to claim. The Pacific Palisades, Calif. native hammered down eight of her kills in the frame on just 11 swings, while Ruddins (five kills) and Allen (four) rounded out the offense. The set was a slugfest, with UCSB hitting a match-high .341 compared to UCI's .318 clip. 

Playing in her final collegiate match, senior defensive specialist Sydney Bast also played a key part in that second set victory, inheriting an 18-22 deficit before going back to the service line and helping UCSB reel off five straight to go ahead 23-22. With two kills and a go-ahead solo roof, Ruddins came up big late before Robinson knocked down kills on two of the last three points to eke out the win.