Cal Poly Volleyball lost to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 15-25, 25-21) on Oct. 19 inside the Thunderdome.  The defeat is the first conference loss of the season for the Mustangs, who are now tied for first place in the Big West standings.

With the loss, the Mustangs (13-6, 6-1) are now in a tie for first place in the Big West Conference standings with the Gauchos (16-2, 6-1).

The Gauchos (16-2, 6-1 Big West) jumped out to an early 9-3 lead In the first set thanks to four Mustangs attacking errors. Cal Poly could only pull the deficit within four points as the Gauchos won the first set 25-19. The Mustangs hit .100 as they tallied 12 kills on 40 total attacks. Cal Poly also made eight total errors throughout the set.

The Gauchos and Mustangs traded points until the second set was tied at 19 as neither team could sustain a lead. However, the Gauchos gained four consecutive points due to two service aces by junior libero Kobie Jiminez. UCSB’s four-point lead was enough to win the second set 25-21.

The Mustangs played their best volleyball in the third set as the team produced 15 kills on 36 total attacks for a .333 hitting percentage while only giving up a match-low three errors.

After UCSB scored five straight points to take a 10-8 lead, Cal Poly answered five points later with a 7-0 run to take a 19-12 lead. During that run, both junior outside hitter Maia Dvoracek and sophomore middle bumper Meredith Phillips had two kills. The Mustangs sustained their lead and defeated the Gauchos 25-15 in the third set.

Despite the Mustangs’ victory in the third set, the Gauchos did not allow the match go into a fifth set. Cal Poly’s only lead in the fourth set was an early 1-point advantage. The Gauchos produced a lead as large as seven points at 22-15.

The Gauchos put an exclamation point on the match with a kill by senior outside hitter Torre Glasker. UC Santa Barbara saved their best for last and tallied 14 kills on 24 attacks (.458 percent) in the final set.

Dvoracek had a game-high 19 kills on 52 total attacks while senior libero Mika Dickson registered 17 digs. Sophomore middle bumper Avalon DeNecochea added a game-high 42 assists.

The Gauchos contained the Mustangs offensively as they had 61 total digs and 13 blocks while only allowing the Mustangs to hit .184.

The Mustangs will remain on the road this week to take on UC Riverside (5-13, 1-6) for the second time this season on Thursday, Oct. 24.

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