His hunch was correct. The Gauchos, stretching their winning streak against Long Beach teams to seven matches in a row, prevailed in a tight Game 1 to trigger a sweep, 30-28, 30-19, 30-25, in front of 1,205. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 In avoiding the program’s first-ever five-matching losing streak, coach Kathy Gregory’s team demonstrated succinctly why, despite the Gauchos’ 0-1 conference record and 3-7 overall mark going into Friday night, Gimmillaro believes UCSB should be favored to repeat as Big West champion. “We were long overdue for a match like this,” Gregory said, crowded by well-wishers after her team’s first home match of the season. “Our tough schedule is finally starting to pay off.” The 49ers (10-4), who took a three-match winning streak into their Big West conference opener, opened play in brisk fashion Friday night while bolting to a 6-2 advantage. But, despite two Gimmillaro timeouts, the Gauchos twice moved to a five-point advantage and were in front, 24-20, after Rosie Lewis hit the ball well out of bounds from the left side. GOLETA — Long Beach State volleyball coach Brian Gimmillaro anticipated that the UC Santa Barbara club the 49ers would face Friday night would not be the one that had dropped four matches in a row for the first time in 10 years. The team that he expected would play host to the 49ers in the Thunderdome was the one that was ranked No. 15 in the preseason, and was projected to win its fourth consecutive Big West Conference championship. Long Beach scored the next three points, the last of those on a Alexis Crimes kill to force Gregory’s second timeout. But, when play resumed, Olivia Waldowski, a graduate of Irvine High whose parents, Barb and Toby, sang the national anthem before the match, got a kill and then had consecutive service aces to help her team regain control. The 49ers cut their deficit to 29-28 before Janine Sandell closed things out from the left side. Sandell, the dominant performer on Friday despite a nasty scrap on her right palm, courtesy of a spill from her bike on the way to practice Monday, came through with a match-high 16 kills (with a .444 hitting percentage) to go with seven digs. The Gauchos cruised in Game 2, 30-19. Long Beach played better in what proved to be the final game but UCSB was still in control while winning 30-25. “Santa Barbara played very, very well tonight as well as I’ve seen a Santa Barbara team play in a long time,” Gimmillaro said. Long Beach plays at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo tonight. Frank Burlison can be reached at [email protected] or (562) 499-1338. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!