September 21, 2007

Cal State Northridge Outlasts UCSB in Big West Opener

Sept. 21, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team fell 24-30, 30-16, 30-25, 27-30, 13-15 to Cal State Northridge in its home and Big West Conference opener Friday evening in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos led two games to one, but were unable to hold on, marking their first loss to the Matadors since 2003.

With the loss, the Gauchos fall to 5-8 on the season and 0-1 in the Big West while Northridge snaps its five-game losing skid and improves to 4-9 overall and 1-0 in conference matches.

Junior outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin led the Gauchos with her 11th double-double of the season, putting away 17 kills and 15 digs along with two block assists. Senior middle blocker Brett Quirarte posted a team-best .385 hitting percentage (14 kills, four errors, 26 attempts) and also led with five total blocks including three solo.

Sophomore Rebecca Saraceno notched her seventh double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs while freshman Stacey Schmidt posted 13 kills. Freshman Dana Vargas had 60 assists in the match and also posted a match-high three service aces. Junior Leigh Stephenson had 22 digs in the loss.

For the Matadors, Angela Hupp lead the way with 14 kills, 23 assists and nine digs accompanied by an impressive eight block assists. Kristy Nua had 12 kills in the win while Lynda Morales had 13 total blocks, including two solo. Kayla Wright chipped in 29 assists and Amy Hutner rounded out the team leaders with 24 digs.

In the match, the Matadors were impressive outblocking UCSB 21-7. Northridge also managed to outhit the Gauchos .239 to .192.

Game one saw 11 ties and five different lead changes before the Matadors broke through a 22-22 tie with five straight points, including three blocks. Somewhat appropriately, Northridge ended the game with a block from Hupp and Val Kepler to take the frame at 30-24.

The Gauchos came alive in the second game as they posted a match-best .378 clip. UCSB jumped out to an early lead and commanded the entire frame with McLaughlin and Schmidt each pitching in six kills. UCSB won game two by way of a 30-16 score. UCSB continued to dominate in the third game as they held the Matadors to a match-low .194 hitting percentage and captured the game at 30-25.

Northridge was dominant early in game four, but the Gauchos used a 7-1 run to tie the game at 16-16. Unfortunately, the Matadors were able to regain their lead and force a fifth game with a 30-27 win.

The final game saw six tied scores and three lead changes early on, but Northridge broke free and jumped out to a 13-8 lead. UCSB chipped away, posting four consecutive points to trail by just one. A Matador attack error tied the score at 13-13, but Northridge recovered and posted two straight kills from Kayla Wright and Brittany Williams to earn the 15-13 win in the deciding game.

The Gauchos will continue Big West action at home on Saturday as they host long-time rival Long Beach State in the Thunderdome. First serve is scheduled for 7 pm.