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Gauchos defeat Long Beach State in four sets

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UCSB volleyball has a day at the beach as they beat the 49ers

UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Lindsey Ruddins continued her recent tear, tying her season-high with 21 kills to lead the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team to a gritty 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 31-29, 25-15) victory over Long Beach State on Tuesday night in the Thunderdome.

The win gives UCSB (19-2, 9-1 Big West) its 19th on the year, the most in the Nicole Lantagne Welch era, and the most for the Gauchos in a season since 2011. The win also gives Welch 99 career wins at UCSB (since 2013) and she can clinch No. 100 as early as this Friday at Hawai'i.

Santa Barbara hit .294 (61-19-143) while holding Long Beach to a .204 (58-27-152) percentage, and the Gauchos held advantages in blocks (15-10), assists (57-50) and aces (6-1) while being edged in digs (56-55).

It was a back-and-forth seesaw affair all night, with each set coming down to the wire. The Gauchos found themselves trailing 20-16 late in the first, before proceeding on a 9-2 run capped by three straight Ruddins kills to polish of the frame. Ruddins opened with five kills on .400 hitting in the first set while Tallulah Froley added four kills.

The second set came down to the wire yet again with the two conference foes deadlocked at 19-19. LBSU's Avery Nelson made a big impact after being subbed into the match, coming up with six kills in the second game, including four down the stretch to highlight a 6-3 run to even the match overall at 1-1.

A very even third set saw both teams battle into extras, trading point for point with nine lead changes and 16 tie scores in the third alone. Both teams staved off three set points each, before the Gauchos managed to break through with two straight points at 29-29, with a Ruddins kill and a Zoe Fleck ace to finish off the set 31-29 and put UCSB up 2-1.

The third set took the wind out of the sails for Long Beach and gave all the momentum to the Gauchos, who coasted to a 25-15 fourth set on .414 hitting to put the match away.

Along with Ruddins' 21 kills, Froley also notched double figures with 13 kills and Rowan Ennis added nine to go with her four blocks. Kjia Rivers and Deni Wilson matched Ennis with a game-high four blocks apiece while adding five kills and three kills, respectively. Torre Glasker, Olivia Lovenberg and Fleck each tallied nine digs to lead UCSB. Lovenberg also dished out 23 assists while Romoni Vivao led the way with 27 to go along with a career-best four kills as she had the Beach on their toes all game.

Kashauna Williams had a standout game for Long Beach State, matching Ruddins' game-high 21 kills while Nelson finished with 14 kills. Carly Aigner-Swesey added 36 assists and Hailey Harward tallied 12 digs.

UCSB begins a four-match road trip during a crucial stretch of conference play this Friday, Nov. 1 at No. 21 Hawai'i at 10:00 p.m. PT.

Story courtesy of UCSB Athletics.

Local Sports / Sports

Mike Klan

Mike Klan is the sports director for KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.

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