FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton got great efforts out of McKenna Painton, Niki Withers and Holland Crenshaw but it was not enough as the Titans suffered their sixth consecutive loss, falling to UC Santa Barbara 3-1 (23-25, 20-25, 25-17, 16-25) Saturday night in a Big West Conference match at Titan Gym.
The Titans (6-12, 0-5) had three players record double-digit kills but the Gauchos (8-8, 3-2) tallied 18 blocks on the night including six in the fourth set to secure the match.
Painton recorded her second career double-double in as many nights, tallying 14 kills and 11 digs. Withers had a terrific night with 16 kills and four blocks (one solo) while Crenshaw added 10 kills with a team-best .409 hitting percentage. Mackenzie Olsen dished out 42 assists. The Titans had 58 digs as a team and three players in double figures, led by Rachel Brown with 17 and Devin Ulmer with 15.
For the Gauchos, Ali Barbeau led all players with 18 kills while hitting at a .277 clip and Chanel Hoffman added 15 kills, nine digs with a .419 hitting percentage. Hanna Nielson and Shauna Klein combined to dish out 39 assists and set the Gauchos to a .270 hitting percentage.
After falling behind two sets to none, the Titans rode a hot start and a stellar game from Crenshaw in the third set to cut the deficit to in half. The Titans jumped out to a 5-0 lead and the middle blocker hammered seven of her kills in the frame while posting a .600 hitting percentage (7-1-10). As a team, Fullerton posted a .294 hitting percentage in the third while holding the Gauchos to a .069 clip.
The Titans held the lead in for much of the start of the fourth set, leading 15-13 at one point. The Gauchos tied it up before Painton put the Titans back on top with her 14th and final kill of the night. After that, the Gauchos took over as they put together a 10-0 scoring run thanks to a pair of aces from Nielson and three kills from Barbeau, helping the Gauchos close out the match.
The Titans will wrap up a three-game homestand on Friday night when they host UC Davis at Titan Gym.
Notes: Withers recorded double-digit kills for the first time since Sept. 26, snapping a three-match drought… Brown recorded four service aces on Saturday night, setting a new career high…The Titans have lost their first five conference games for the first time since 2002.