Gauchos Give No. 24 Cal Poly Early Scare, Fall 3-1

Gauchos Give No. 24 Cal Poly Early Scare, Fall 3-1

Oct. 11, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite a strong start, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team was unable to overcome No. 24 Cal Poly Thursday evening in the Thunderdome, falling 27-30, 30-28, 30-23, 30-26 to the Mustangs in the first of two meetings with the Central Coast rival this season.

With the loss, UC Santa Barbara falls to 6-12 on the season and 1-5 in the Big West while Cal Poly improves to 11-7 overall and 5-1 in conference matches. The Gauchos are now 0-4 in the Thunderdome this season.

Junior Lauren McLaughlin led the Gauchos with 20 kills and 11 digs in the loss while Rebecca Saraceno, Charlene DeHoog and Kasey Kipp each recorded 10 kills. Kipp hit a team-best .438 with her 10 kills on 16 attempts with just three errors.

Freshman setter Dana Vargas recorded 50 assists, eight digs and four kills. Junior libero Leigh Stephenson had 29 digs while freshman Caitlin Saxton had 13.

Kylie Atherstone, who posted 21 kills and 11 digs with a .333 clip, led the Mustangs. Teammate Ali Waller was impressive with 17 kills, 15 digs and seven block assists. Jaclyn Houston tallied a match-high 12 blocks, including an impressive 10 block assists. Libero Kristin Jackson posted 25 digs and setter Chelsea Hayes handed out 59 assists.

The Gauchos fought through nine ties and three lead changes in the first frame. Despite being outhit by the Mustangs .326 to .220, UCSB kept the game tight throughout. Back-to-back kills from Saraceno and Kipp broke UCSB free of a 25-25 tie and the narrow lead was all Santa Barbara needed as it went on a 4-1 run to take the first game by way of a 30-27 score.

Game two proved even tougher as the two teams battled through 16 ties and eight lead changes. Each team posted its best hitting of the game with Cal Poly outhitting the Gauchos .488 to .333. The Mustangs led the game at 27-25 before the Gauchos scored three consecutive points to take a 28-27 lead. Cal Poly responded with a 3-0 run of its own to take the game at 30-27.

Cal Poly's momentum continued in game three as it jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Atherstone and Waller had five and six kills, respectively in the frame as the Mustangs outhit UCSB .292 to .152. Cal Poly posted three consecutive points at the end of the game, including two kills from Gaby Rivera to take the game at 30-23.

The two teams once again faced several ties early in game four, but the Mustangs broke free from a 14-14 tie with a 11-4 run. UCSB chipped away at the Cal Poly lead and a kill from DeHoog brought the Gauchos within two points at 26-24. The Mustangs held on and a kill from Houston sealed the win, 30-26.

UCSB will continue Big West action on Saturday, Oct. 13 when they head to UC Riverside for a 7 p.m. match-up.