Gaucho women picked fifth in Big West

UCSB Women's Volleyball vs. UC DavisThe UCSB women’s volleyball team was picked to finish fifth in the Big West’s Coaches Preseason Poll, released by the conference on Tuesday.

The Gauchos return several key players from last year’s squad and thus are expected to finish higher than they ended the 2008 season. UCSB will be led by senior outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno (2.23 kills per set) junior setter Dana Vargas (8.47 assists per set) and 2008 All-Freshman Team selection Lily Lopez (0.97 kills per set, 0.66 blocks per set).

UCSB finished behind Long Beach State (75 total points, four first place votes), UC Irvine (73 total points, three first place votes), Cal Poly (62 points, two first place votes) and Pacific (54 points) in the annual coach’s poll. The Gauchos received 48 points in the voting.

Rounding out the Big West Conference was Cal State Fullerton (36 points), Cal State Northridge (26), UC Davis (16) and UC Riverside (15).

The 2009 Gauchos give fans two chances to see them play before the home season officially begins with a match vs. the alumni on Saturday Aug. 22 and an exhibition match against Thompson Rivers University on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

UCSB has its official home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 16 vs. Santa Clara.

1. Long Beach State (4) 75
2. UC Irvine (3) 73
3. Cal Poly (2) 62
4. Pacific 54
5. UC Santa Barbara 48
6. Cal State Fullerton 36
7. Cal State Northridge 26
8. UC Davis 16
9. UC Riverside 15
( ) Denotes first place votes