October 12, 2011

Gauchos' Furious Rally Not Enough in Five-Game Loss to Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Brimming with hope following a thilling marathon fourth set victory and a furious comeback in the fifth set, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team ultimately lost to Cal Poly on Wednesday night.

The Gauchos, who had been in first place in the Big West entering the match, fell 25-13, 17-25, 25-16, 29-31, 15-13 and fall to 11-8 overall and 4-2 in the Big West. Cal Poly remained undefeated in Mott Gym and improves to 8-11, 3-3.

Four Cal Poly players finished with double-digit kills led by Jennifer Keddy who had a match-best 21 kills.

Leah Sully led the Gauchos with 16 kills and 25 digs - her 14th double-double in 18 matches this season. Kara Sherrard tallied her fifth double-double in a row with 14 kills and 17 digs.

Stacey Schmidt had 11 kills and Lily Lopez added 10 for Santa Barbara.

Needing a win to force a deciding fifth game, the Gauchos had an 18-14 lead and looked to be in control. However, the Mustangs took a 20-19 lead on one of the Gauchos' 33 hitting errors on the night.

UCSB and Cal Poly then played a see-saw affair with the Mustangs holding match point at 29-28. But Schmidt had a kill which led to putaways from Sherrard and Jenna Wilson to close things out.

In the fifth set UCSB trailed 4-0, 7-2 and 8-3 and looked to be in peril. But a Cal Poly error and kills from Wilson and Haley Uhland brought it to 9-6, forcing Cal Poly to call a timeout.

It didn't thwart the Gauchos who then rattled off four more points to take a 10-9 lead on a Mustangs attack error. This time, though, a Mustangs timeout quelled the run.

The teams traded points and things were knotted at 12-12 before a Molly Pon kill, an attack error by the Gauchos and a kill from Kristina Graven ended the Gauchos' hope of a comeback victory.

UCSB hosts UC Riverside on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Thunderdome. In a prematch ceremony Judy Bellomo will be unveiled as the newest Legend of the 'Dome. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.