November 10, 2007

UCSB Unable to Hold Onto Early Lead, Falls to UC Irvine in Four Games

Nov. 10, 2007

Box Score

IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Irvine women's volleyball team captured a 25-30, 30-24, 31-29, 30-22 win over Big West Conference foe UC Santa Barbara Saturday evening in the Anteater's Craword Court.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 10-17 overall and 5-9 in the Big West. Tonight's loss guarantees that the Gauchos will finish the season with a record below .500, a first in the program's 33-year history. UC Irvine improves to 20-9 overall and 10-4 in the Big West.

Junior Lauren McLaughlin once again led the Gauchos with 20 points in the match. The outside hitter accumulated 19 kills with 13 digs and also tallied one service ace. Outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno also posted a double-double with 16 kills and 12 digs, she also had an ace and two blocks.

Senior middle blocker Brett Quirarte had nine kills and a team-high five blocks, including two solo blocks. Freshman setter Dana Vargas handed out 41 assists and tallied nine digs in the loss. Junior libero Leigh Stephenson had 24 digs and five assists.

Kari Pestolesi led the Anteaters with 19 kills and 19 digs; she also had four block assists and an ace. Kristin Kelley had 16 digs with a .333 clip accompanied by five block assists. Setter Taryn Robertson tallied 56 assists, nine digs and five block assists.

UCSB opened game one with the first point on a kill from Saraceno. The Gauchos broke a 4-4 tie with a three-point run, which included a pair of kills from McLaughlin, to take the first sizeable lead of the game. Irvine was able to climb back and tie the game again at 14-14, but the Gauchos posted another 3-0 run to break the tie and regain the lead. From that point forward, UCSB controlled the frame, and as a team the Gauchos hit .342 and committed just two errors. McLaughlin led the way with six kills and an ace in the frame.

Irvine jumped out to the early lead in game two and never looked back. The Anteaters outhit UCSB .282 to .184 in the frame and took a 30-24 win.

The third game was a different story entirely. Several attack errors by UC Irvine helped the Gauchos gain an early 8-3 advantage. The Anteaters chipped away at their deficit and were able to tie the game up at 10-10 before going on a 4-1 run to gain a 14-12 advantage. It was the Gauchos' turn to make a comeback, and they did, tying the match at 16-16 with a kill from Saraceno. Five ties ensued before UC Irvine posted a 3-0 run to capture the lead at 24-21, but the seesaw of a game continued and UCSB went on an impressive 6-0 run to gain a 27-24 advantage.

Just three points away from dropping the game, Irvine came back to tie the frame at 28-28, and then reached game point with a kill from Pestolesi. A kill from McLaughlin caused another deadlock before a Pestolesi kill, followed by one from Chelsea Ellis, captured the win for UCI at 31-29.

The fourth frame looked much more like the second as the Anteaters captured the initial lead and never relinquished it. UC Irvine hit a match-best .396 in the frame while holding UCSB to .075 clip as it captured the decisive 30-22 victory.

The Gauchos will return to the Thunderdome next week for their final pair of home and Big West matches of the season. UCSB will host a rematch with UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. before playing UC Riverside the following evening.