After defeating their first two Big West opponents, Cal Poly women’s volleyball suffered their first conference loss to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos by way of a sweep (25-19, 25-19, 25-21) on Friday, Oct. 1 inside Mott Athletics Center. 

The Mustangs (4-10, 2-1) saw their first sellout crowd since 2019 but were swept for the first time at home since 2016, which also was by the Gauchos. 

“Our execution lacked and it was upsetting because it was in front of three thousand people who were all here and supporting us,” junior middle blocker Meredith Phillips said. 

“You have a sold-out crowd, and you want to be firing on all cylinders, but we did not show up tonight,” head coach Caroline Walters said. 

UCSB (7-8, 3-0) gained momentum early in the match, never trailing in the opening set. The Gauchos got out to a 6-3 lead before extending it to as high as 21-13. However, the Mustangs went on a 5-1 run to cut the lead to 22-18 before the Gauchos ultimately prevailed in the first set 25-19. 

The second set was back-and-forth as the set was tied at 16-16. However, UCSB pulled away with a 7-1 run to give them a 23-17 advantage and won the set 25-19. 

Similar to the second set, the third set was neck and neck as the match was tied at 15-15. The Mustangs then took three straight points to take an 18-15 lead. However, UCSB scored seven unanswered points to take a 22-18 lead and ultimately took the set 25-21 to finish off the sweep of the Mustangs. 

The Gaucho offense and defense clicked as they outhit the Mustangs .347 to .133 and recorded 55 digs compared to Cal Poly’s 34. 

“We have certain assignments to block their hitters and we did not get there,” Phillips said. “Having a team hit .350 on you makes it hard to beat them.”

The Mustangs will look to bounce back when they play CSU Northridge on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center. 

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