Gauchos Finish Tournament With Two Wins

SAN DIEGO - After a minor speedbump in the form of No. 17 San Diego, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team got back into its normal winning form with a pair of victories on Saturday to finish the San Diego Invitational.

The Gauchos topped Indiana in five sets in the morning match - 26-24, 25-16, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13 - and then swept George Washington 25-20, 25-23, 25-15.

The Gauchos have now won six of their past seven matches and are 7-5 on the year.

Middle blockers Lily Lopez and Stacey Schmidt were both named to the All-Tournament Team after an outstanding trio of games. For the senior Schmidt, it marks the seventh consecutive All-Tournament Team she has been named to, dating back to last season.

Lopez had 16 kills, seven digs, a block solo and seven block assists in the pair of matches on Saturday. Lopez had a team-best seven kills on Friday night vs. the Toreros.

Schmidt, an All-American last year, had 19 kills, five digs and eight block assists in the Gauchos' two wins. She also had three service aces in the pair of matches.

Both were recognized with their play at the net as neither led UCSB in kills in the two wins.

That distinction went to Leah Sully who had 14 kills vs. Indiana and 12 more vs. George Washington. Sully racked up double-doubles in each match with a pair of 13-dig efforts for UCSB.

Santa Barbara entered the tournament as one of the lowest-hitting teams in the Big West, yet the Gauchos swung at a .248 clip vs. the Hoosiers (8-3) and followed it up with a .280 mark against the Colonials (10-3).

And, as has been the trend this season, UCSB continued its impressive defense. Against Indiana, UCSB had 9.0 team blocks and 70 digs. In the nightcap, the Gauchos totaled 11.0 blocks and 57 digs.

Freshman setter Hanna Nielson led a balanced attack for the Gauchos as she passed out 81 total assists on the day and helped six Gauchos record over five kills vs. Indiana and four more turn the trick against George Washington.

Fellow freshman Taylor Pischke had 15 kills in the two matches to go along with two aces and two digs for two of her best performances as a collegiate athlete.

Kara Sherrard, a sophomore outside hitter, finished Saturday with nine kills and 10 digs, continuing her good all around play.

Middle blocker Katey Thompson recorded a double-double vs. Indiana with 10 kills and 10 digs and followed it up with two kills and 11 digs.

UCSB will take its hot streak into Big West Conference play as it faces Long Beach State on Friday night and Cal State Fullerton next Saturday.

The Gauchos open their home action on Sept. 30 in a match vs. Pacific. Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or by clicking here.