Gauchos miff Mustangs in comeback win

Even though Cal Poly’s women’s volleyball team had defeated UCSB in six straight matches and took a two games to one lead on Saturday night, the Gauchos never crumpled.

All those thoughts of a loss at home – which would have been the Gauchos’ first this year – changed, though it wasn’t without some nerves.

The Gauchos rallied from an 8-3 deficit in game five, eventually defeating the Mustangs 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 25-20, 15-12 at the Thunderdome.


It improves UCSB’s record to 12-4 overall, 3-2 in the Big West and gave the Gauchos their first victory over their Central Coast neighbors since Oct. 22, 2005. Cal Poly falls to 6-13, 2-3.

ThreePicklesFreeSodaThe Gauchos were led by Rebecca Saraceno’s 19 kills while Stacey Schmidt added 15, tying her career-high while setting a career-best with two solo blocks, and Charlene DeHoog had 10 kills. Setter Dana Vargas had 54 assists. Chelsey Lowe led the Gauchos with 16 digs while Saraceno had 14 and Leah Sully had 10. Saraceno notched her 10th double-double this season.

Poly was led by Megan McConnell, who had 18 kills and Alison Mort, who added 13 digs.

Once Cal Poly tied up the match after winning game two, DeHoog started the third and fourth sets and played a major role in the fifth, putting down all 10 of her kills in place of Sully, who managed just six kills on the night.

Lowe turned around the fifth set after Poly jumped out to an 8-3 lead and the teams switched sides. The sophomore libero served the Gauchos to an 11-8 lead, thanks in part to a service ace, two kills by Schmidt, one each by Saraceno and DeHoog and a pair of Mustang errors.

Yet the Mustangs wouldn’t go quietly. They scored two quick points to pull within one, but Schmidt and DeHoog each put down a kill and the Gauchos took advantage of two more Cal Poly errors to take the match. Poly hit just .132 in the fourth set and .158 in the fifth set.

The Gauchos host Pepperdine on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome, part of the team’s season-long four-match homestand. UCSB will also play Pacific on Friday, Oct. 16 and UC Davis on Saturday, Oct. 17.