October 29, 2011

Gauchos Rally to Beat Pacific in Five

STOCKTON, Calif. - Rebounding from a difficult defeat to UC Davis on Friday night, the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team gutted out a big five-set victory over Pacific on Saturday at the Spanos Center.

UCSB improves to 13-11 overall and 6-5 in the Big West, earning a tie for second place with Pacific and UC Davis, both of whom are also 6-5.

Game scores for the match were: 25-23, 21-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-13.

Chelsey Lowe, the Gauchos' libero, moved into 10th place all-time in career digs as she recorded 19 and passed Liz Towne (1985-88) for the No. 10 spot in school history.

Kara Sherrard led UCSB in both kills (17) and digs (22), pacing an attack that saw four players record double digit kills. Leah Sully had 14 kills and 19 digs while Stacey Schmidt had 13 to go with 13 digs and Lily Lopez added 11 putaways.

Freshman setter Hanna Nielson also recorded a double-double with 49 assists and 14 digs.

The final game of the night proved to be a battle with both teams trading points until a costly Pacific hitting error at 13-13 gave the Gauchos a match point that they would not waste.  UCSB got a kill from Schmidt to end the two hour, 19 minute match.

The final two point margin in game five was the only time either team held a lead of more than one point in the game.

Santa Barbara broke out a 4-0 run in the first set to seize control, rallying from a 21-19 deficit. Two Sully putaways and a UOP error fueled the run but the Tigers came back to tie it at 23-23. A timeout by Kathy Gregory regrouped the troops and a Pacific error and a Sully kill ended it.

After wins in sets two and three, the Tigers would have their chance to bury the Gauchos for good after turning a 15-15 contest into a 21-16 lead behind four kills from Gabby Cowden, who finished the game with six of the Tigers' 16 kills in the frame.  However, just as they did in game three, UCSB rallied and outscored the Tigers 9-2 over the final 11 points of the game to knot the match at 2-2 and force the fifth and decisive game.

Two attack errors and a kill from Sherrard brought UCSB to 21-19 forcing UOP to call timeout. Two more kills from Sherrard and a kill by Lopez eventually tied things at 22-apiece. After trading points, two more hitting errors by the Tigers gave UCSB the life it needed to pull out the victory.

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