Schmidt powers Gauchos through Big West opener

NORTHRIDGE – Junior Stacey Schmidt was named to four all-tournament teams this season, or once every tournament the UCSB women’s volleyball team played in. The way she played on Friday night, it appears she is also looking to be named to the Big West All-Conference Team.

Schmidt had a career-high 23 kills while hitting .526 to lead UCSB to a 25-16, 28-26, 19-25, 24-26, 15-10 victory over Cal State Northridge in the Big West Conference opener.

UCSB (7-6 overall, 1-0 in the Big West) also had two others reach double-digits in kills as Charlene DeHoog had 12 putaways and Kara Sherrard had 11. Dana Vargas had 51 assists to go with 13 digs. DeHoog recorded her fifth double-double in the Gauchos’ past seven matches as she also had 11 digs.

Schmidt, an All-Big West First Team pick last year, also led the Gauchos with four service aces while adding five digs and two block assists. UCSB recorded three solo blocks and 18 block assists and held the Matadors (6-9, 0-1) to a .168 hitting percentage.

The Gauchos had an opportunity to close out the match in the fourth set, leading 12-8 at one point on a Kara Sherrard kill. But, as was the case most of the night, CSUN rallied back eventually taking a 17-15 lead. The Gauchos trailed, 24-22, before a pair of DeHoog kills tied things up at 24-all. The Matadors, though, called a timeout and finished off the set on a kill by Janet Alvarado and a UCSB hitting error for the win.

In the fifth set, though, UCSB put the match away leading the entire set. At three different junctures, the Gauchos had a four-point lead in the fifth set and even led 14-9 on a Sherrard kill. After a quick timeout when CSUN cut the Gaucho lead to 14-10, Schmidt finished off the match with her 23rd kill.

UCSB went up 2-0 after needing extra points to take the second game, 28-26. The Gauchos opened up the second game, 7-2, on one of DeHoog’s kills only to see CSUN rally to eventually tie things at 11-11. From there, the teams see-sawed until the Gauchos led 17-14 on a Lily Lopez putaway.

Northridge tied things up again at 21-apiece as well as tying the score at 23, 24, 25 and 26. But DeHoog recorded a kill and then finished off the second set with a service ace, one of the Gauchos’ seven on the night.

Santa Barbara also led 7-2 in the first set and stretched the lead to 12-4 on a block by Vargas and Lopez. UCSB seemed to cruise from that point on, going up 20-10 at one point and the Gauchos used a pair of errors in their final three points to take the first game.

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