Gauchos Hang With No. 8 Illinois Before Falling

PROVO, Utah – If there is something to be taken from Saturday's doubleheader it would be this - the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team looks like it can play with some of the best teams in the country.

A day after knocking off St. Mary's, which is receiving votes in the AVCA poll, the Gauchos took the first set from No. 8 Illinois in the nightcap of the BYU Nike Invitational.

Unfortunately, the Illini won the next three games and overtook the Gauchos, 25-19, 14-25, 19-25, 18-25. That defeat followed an early morning loss to host BYU, who beat UCSB 25-18, 14-25, 17-25, 9-25.

Stacey Schmidt was named to the All-Tournament Team after recording 28 total kills, nine digs, and a pair of solo blocks and block assists. This coming after she recorded a double-double in Friday's win over the Gaels. It is the fifth straight All-Tournament Team for Schmidt, the All-American, which dates back to last season.

Leah Sully capped a weekend that featured three double-doubles by recording 12 kills and 14 digs in the first match vs. BYU and then 12 kills and 15 digs in the second vs. Illinois.

Against the host Cougars UCSB hit -.014 with 36 hitting errors, allowing BYU to handily take the final three sets. Sully was the only UCSB player to record double digits in kills.

In the match vs. No. 8 Illinois, Santa Barbara hit .139 to the Illini's .259. Chelsey Lowe led three Gauchos in double-digit digs with 29, one off her career-high. Freshman Taylor Pischke had 12 digs to go with five kills. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native also had three block assists.

Schmidt's 20 kills in the match were just three shy of her career-best, achieved last season.

UCSB will play at the 2011 Asics Challenge next weekend, hosted by Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. The Gauchos' first home match is not until Sept. 30 vs. Big West foe Pacific. Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or online by clicking here.