August 25, 2010

Women's Volleyball Season Preview Day 3: Setters

Aug. 25, 2010

Coming off of one of its best seasons in recent memory - a 22-8 overall record and a 27th NCAA Tournament appearance - the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team returns five starters to its talented squad, a group that is currently receiving votes in the preseason Top-25 poll.

The Gauchos open their season on Friday, August 27 at the Cal Molten Classic and the team begins its home schedule on Monday, August 30 when they face Cincinnati at 7 p.m. at Rob Gym. In this four-part preview, today we will take a look at the setting position in part three. To see the defensive specialist/libero preview, please click here.

To see the preview on the outside hitters and opposites, please click here.

While the Gauchos lost one of their All-Americans from last season - outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno - the team returns the other All-American. Senior Dana Vargas will be heavily counted on to lead the team back to the NCAA Tournament after garnering All-Big West First Team honors, an All-West Region First Team pick and All-American Honorable Mention honors last year.

Vargas is already fourth all-time in school history in career assists and by the end of her senior season she could be one of just three players in UCSB history to reach 5,000 career assists.

The Seal Beach, Calif. native is one of UCSB's captains this season and head coach Kathy Gregory is going to lean on Vargas to be the quarterback on the court.

"Dana returning for us as a senior is definitely a person to make things go for us," Gregory said. "I do believe she is the best setter in the league. This year we're asking her to even be better in terms of running a quicker offense and make better decisions. We're expecting big things from Dana to lead this team."

Vargas, who was recently honored as a UCSBgauchos.com Great Example - make sure to click here to reach it - has established herself as one of the premier setters in the nation. Last year she ranked 40th overall with her 10.90 assists per set.

"She is physically stronger and has another year of experience," Gregory said. "She is ready to lead us to a higher position, nationally."

Backing up Vargas will be freshman Lyana Perez, a highly touted freshman from St. Francis High in Woodland, Calif. Perez led the Troubadours to the San Joaquin Division II section title a year ago as a senior.

"She is adjusting very well and has very good hands," Gregory said. "Every day she is improving and she is prepared if something happens. She gave up her summer to come to summer school here and we're lucky to have her."

The Gauchos will host Cincinnati on Monday, August 30 at 7 p.m. Rob Gym. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.

GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members 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 GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.