Sept. 16, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Playing on the freshly painted Thunderdome floor for the first time, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team did little to take the shine off the court. In the Gauchos' home opener on Wednesday night, UCSB rolled to a 25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 25-23 victory over Santa Clara.
The Gauchos are now 6-2 this year, with five of those victories coming against 2008 NCAA Tournament teams, including Wednesday's win over the Broncos who were ranked No. 20 in Volleyball Magazine's preseason poll.
Rebecca Saraceno notched 24 kills in the victory, one off of her career-high, while also tallying 15 digs, tying Leah Sully and Chelsey Lowe for the team lead. Sully added 10 kills, as did Stacey Schmidt. The sophomore middle blocker, who hit .429 in the match, leads the Big West in hitting percentage and has tallied double-digits in kills in all but two matches this season.
Saraceno, meanwhile, tied her season-best with the 24 putaways and is the only Gaucho to hit double-digits in every match this season. Dana Vargas passed out 50 assists, the third time this season the junior setter has hit the half-century mark.
As a team UCSB hit .252 compared to Santa Clara's .183 and came out smoking hot in the first set, racking up a .444 hitting percentage. In the second set, UCSB rallied to tie the score, 22-22, but the Broncos called a quick timeout and Krista Kelley and Lindsy Davigeando's kills bookmarked a UCSB error to give Santa Clara the second set.
However, the Gauchos jumped out to a 9-4 advantage in the third set before SCU rallied to tie it at 11-11, but the rally must have tired the Broncos as UCSB went on a quick run to make it 17-12. The Broncos wouldn't go quietly, though, rallying to take a 22-21 lead, causing UCSB coach Kathy Gregory to call timeout.
Vargas had a quick kill on the second hit and Saraceno put one away before Santa Clara had two hitting errors to give UCSB game three.
Tied 8-8 in the fourth set, the Gauchos ticked off three quick points on three Bronco errors and didn't look back, holding off Santa Clara to capture the match.
UCSB will face Seattle and Idaho at the Mission Inn of Pismo Beach Invitational this Friday and Saturday before returning home to host Loyola Marymount next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Thunderdome.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the ticket office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This season two UCSB players will be frequently updating Gaucho fans about the women's volleyball team through the school's official website - UCSBgauchos.com. Middle blocker Stacey Schmidt writes a blog titled "Stacebook" and outside hitter Charlene DeHoog has jumped into the social networking by providing constant Twitter updates. Read "Stacebook" by clicking here. Follow DeHoog's thoughts at twitter.com/ucsbvolleyball. Both can also be found on the women's volleyball page of UCSBgauchos.com.
Join the GKids
UCSB Athletics is proud to introduce GKids - its new official kids club! GKids members will receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the new GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.