UCSB spikers survive 5-set scare in SLO

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Five Gauchos had double-digit kills and setter Dana Vargas set a career-high with 63 assists as the UCSB women’s volleyball team defeat Cal Poly 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10 on Saturday night at Mott Gym.

The Gauchos were able to withstand a late rally from the Mustangs to win after capturing the first two games of the match and improved to 10-8 overall and 4-1 in Big West play. Cal Poly falls to 14-5, 4-2.

Stacey Schmidt led the Gauchos with 17 kills while Kara Sherrard had 16 kills to go with 14 kills. Charlene DeHoog had 12 kills and 12 digs while middle blockers Kasey Kipp and Lily Lopez each had 11 kills. Vargas’ previous assists high came on Nov. 24, 2007 when she had 62 vs. Yale.

After winning the first two sets UCSB found itself needing to win the final fifth set to leave San Luis Obispo with a victory. Trailing 5-2 in the fifth set, DeHoog got a kill but Cal Poly’s Jennifer Keddy made it 6-3 with a putaway. Schmidt and Kipp, who combined for 11 assisted blocks between them, had an assisted block to make it 6-4 before Kipp had back-to-back kills to eventually tie things at 7-7.

An ace from DeHoog combined with two Sherrard kills gave the Gauchos an 11-8 lead and a kill each from Sherrard and Schmidt gave UCSB a 14-9 lead. Sherrard’s kill finally gave the Gauchos the victory.

Both teams did well on the attack as UCSB hit .337 compared to Cal Poly’s .301 percentage. Kelly Heenan, Chelsey Lowe, Sherrard, Vargas and DeHoog each had double-digit digs.

UCSB won the second set thanks to a kill by Kara Sherrard to break a 23-23 tie and then won after a Mustang error. Stacey Schmidt had five kills in the set to lead the Gauchos to the win. UCSB had a 13-9 lead after a Lily Lopez kill but Cal Poly rallied to bring it close to 17-16. The Gauchos did take a 23-19 lead on a block by Schmidt and Kasey Kipp before closing things out.

The Gauchos won the first game behind the strength of Kara Sherrard and Dana Vargas. Sherrard had four kills and assisted on a block while Vargas passed out 11 assists and added a block assist to go with two kills. UCSB trailed 8-4 but rallied due to a pair of Cal Poly errors and eventually tied things on one of the Mustangs 21 hitting errors on the evening.

Santa Barbara took a 22-18 lead on Charlene DeHoog’s kill and got the victory point on another error by Cal Poly to close out the first.

The Gauchos return home on Oct. 22 vs. UC Irvine.

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