Five Gauchos Honored as All-Big West Picks

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Three UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball players were honored as All-Big West First Team selections and the Gauchos, who finished second in the conference, placed five players on all-conference teams, the league announced on Tuesday. The five honorees ties UCSB for the most by any school in the conference.

Seniors Chelsey Lowe, Lily Lopez and Stacey Schmidt were all honored as First Team All-Big West selections, tying the Gauchos for the most First Team picks by a school in the conference.

Lowe, who leads the conference in digs per set, was the lone libero on the First Team, proving how far ahead of the field she was this season. The senior from Yorba Linda, Calif. ranks 26th in the nation with her 5.38 digs per set. It is Lowe's first honor from the Big West.

Lopez finished second in the league in hitting percentage with a .340 clip which also ranks her 65th nationally. The senior middle blocker from Yorba Linda, Calif. had 2.47 kills and 0.74 blocks per set during conference play. Lopez was also a member of the All-Big West Freshman Team in her rookie campaign as a Gaucho.

Schmidt becomes just the fifth player in UCSB history to receive All-Big West First Team honors in at least three seasons. The senior right side hitter from Huntington Beach, Calif. averaged 2.97 kills and 0.91 blocks per set while also ranking among the league leaders in hitting percentage (.290) and aces per set (0.31).

Sophomore Leah Sully, who leads the Gauchos in kills per set with 3.00 and is second on the team in digs per set with 3.77, was named to the All-Big West Honorable Mention squad. Sully, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, ranks in the conference's top-10 in digs per set and aces per set.

Freshman setter Hanna Nielson rounds out the quintet of honorees as she was named to the All-Big West Freshman Team. This marks the 13th time in the past 14 seasons that UCSB has had at least one freshman named to the All-Freshman Team. Nielson ranks third in the conference with her 10.57 assists per set and her 1,216 assists on the season have her just outside the single-season top-10 at UCSB.

The Gauchos, 18-11 overall, will look to boost their NCAA Tournament hopes this weekend with a tournament in San Diego. UCSB plays San Diego State and TCU this weekend in the hopes of winning 20 games on the season.

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