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UCSB Earns Four-Set Win over San Diego State After Battling No. 9 Baylor

Michelle Ohwobete (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Michelle Ohwobete (Photo by Jeff Liang)

MALIBU, Calif. (Sept. 3, 2022) – The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team competed in the final day of the Pepperdine Asics Classic in Malibu, Calif. on Saturday, falling to the No. 9 Bears of Baylor University in three sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-13, before defeating the San Diego State Aztecs in four, 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 25-16.

Santa Barbara (1-5) was the first team to put a point on the board. However, the Bears (3-2) would not go down easy. After eight points, Baylor pushed ahead, growing their lead to five at one point. The Gauchos weren't ready to go down just yet, battling their way back into this first set, even tying the game at 17 a piece. But this nationally-ranked team wouldn't let UCSB pull out the win. Baylor stole the first set from the Gauchos 25-22.

From there, the Bears came out in the second set on fire. They went on a three-point run before the Gauchos could get on the board. The lead didn't stop UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos tied up the score at 12-12 to battle back in this second set. As the game continued on, Baylor grew its lead over UCSB, ultimately taking the second set 25-20. 

At the start of the third set, both teams fought back and forth for the lead. Once they were 12 points into the third set, the Bears ran away with it. Baylor went on a nine-point service run to pull themselves ahead of the Gauchos, resulting in a 25-13 loss in UCSB's final game of the tournament. 

Both Michelle Ohwobete and Tallulah Froley ended the match with eight kills apiece, hitting .158 and .222, respectively. Grace McIntosh and Megan Shimoda led the offense with each setter registering double-digit assists. In the back row, the Gauchos' libero, Macall Peed, led the defensive efforts, ending the match with nine digs. 

After dropping the first two points of the match, the Gauchos played some of their best volleyball of the young season the rest of the way against the Aztecs (2-4).

A 7-2 run in the opening set put UCSB up for good as the whole team pitched in with points. The Gauchos' third ace of the game gave them a 13-8 advantage, and they would later go up 20-13 on a kill by sophomore middle blocker Nia Correal. Ohwobete cleaned things up with her third kill of the early-going to seal a 25-18 opening set victory.

The second set would finish with an identical scoreline thanks to several key Gaucho runs. After trailing 5-3 to start, they would go on a pair of 5-0 runs in quick succession to go up 14-7 on an ace by sophomore outside hitter Tasia Farmer. SDSU fought back to make it a 2-point game at 18-16, but UCSB answered with its third 5-0 run of the set capped by an Ohwobete ace. The talented junior once again capped a 25-18 win with a set-winning kill to put the Gauchos up 2-0.

Looking for the sweep, UCSB found itself in a dogfight as neither team held more than a 3-point lead in set three. There were ties at each point from 17 to 21, but the Aztecs finally pulled away with three unanswered and went on to win game three 25-22.

The Gauchos would go for the kill in set four, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. They would blow the set open with a 7-1 run, and a Froley kill made it 19-7 for their largest lead of the night. Freshman outside hitter Sophie Reavis later put the finishing touches to close the set with a 25-16 win.

Froley led UCSB with 13 kills (.375) to go with two blocks. It was a consistent attacking effort all-around, with six Gauchos tallying six or more kills. Correal finished with seven blocks. Ohwobete had eight kills, nine digs and a match-high four aces.

The Gauchos will be back in action on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 and 10, at New Mexico State for a series of matches. The match on Friday starts at 4 p.m. while the match on Saturday is at 10 a.m. Both contests will be streamed on ESPN+.