Gaucho spikers take right first step

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.In its first match of the 2009 season, the UCSB women’s volleyball team opened the year in style with a convincing three games to one victory over Portland State, an NCAA Tournament team a season ago.

UCSB won by scores of 25-16, 25-21, 23-25 and 25-18 in the opener of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic, held at the University of New Mexico’s Johnson Center. It was the second year in a row that the Gauchos opened their season with a win. UCSB improves to 6-0 all-time vs. Portland State.

The Gauchos had three players with double-digit kills, led by senior Rebecca Saraceno’s 17 while Charlene DeHoog added 13 and Stacey Schmidt had 10. Setter Dana Vargas had 46 assists while also adding four block assists.


UCSB dominated throughout, winning the first two games behind Schmidt and DeHoog’s five kills apiece in game one and DeHoog’s three kills in the second game.

Schmidt, who was forced to redshirt last season due to a knee injury, hit at a .500 clip, tallying 10 kills in 20 swings.

As a team the Gauchos hit at a .289 clip while the Vikings hit a mere .124. UCSB tallied 19 total blocks as Lily Lopez, an All-Big West Freshman Team member a season ago, had two solo blocks and four block assists. Lopez also added five kills.

UCSB had glowing marks all around as sophomore transfer Chelsey Lowe had 17 digs in her first action as the team’s libero. Saraceno and freshman Leah Sully had eight digs apiece. Sully, playing in her first collegiate match, also put away seven kills.

Vargas, meanwhile, filled up the entire stat line, totaling eight kills and four digs on the night.

Saraceno, one of only two seniors on the team, had two service aces and added three block assists. DeHoog had a service ace to go along with her six digs and one block assist.

The Gauchos will play two matches on Saturday with the first one slated for 10:30 a.m. vs. Delaware in the first-ever meeting between the schools. UCSB closes out the tournament with a match against host New Mexico at 7 p.m.