Sept. 8, 2007
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team's losing skid was stretched to five straight matches Saturday afternoon as the Gauchos were swept by Oklahoma, 30-24, 30-28, 30-22 on the second day of the University of San Diego Invitational at the Torero's Jenny Craig Pavilion.
With the loss, UCSB falls to 2-6 on the season, the slowest start in the program's 33-year history. This also marks the first time in Gaucho women's volleyball history that a team has posted more than four consecutive losses. Oklahoma, a 2006 Sweet 16 team, improves to 7-1 on the season.
Junior Lauren McLaughlin led the Gauchos with 15 kills in the loss. The outside hitter also tallied seven digs and two block assists. Senior Brett Quirarte hit .500 on the match with nine kills on 14 attempts with two errors. She also led all Gauchos with three block assists.
Freshman setter Dana Vargas had 34 assists, seven digs, two block assists and three kills in the match. Sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno collected nine kills and 10 digs. Also posting double-digit digs were junior libero Leigh Stephenson with 18 and freshman Caitlin Saxton with 13.
Bridget Laplante led the Sooners with 16 kills and 14 digs, hitting .302 on the match. Mariana Blum had a match-high 22 digs in addition to 12 kills and setter Julie Chester had 50 assists and eight digs.
The first game of the match saw 10 tied scores and six lead changes. Trailing 14-12, the Gauchos posted an 8-0 run fueled by three kills from Quirarte to take a 19-15 lead. The Sooners fought back and eventually regained the lead. With the score at 26-23, Oklahoma went on a 4-0 run to reach game point and a kill by Sarah Weiland sealed the win at 30-24.
Game two was tightly contested with nine tied scores and six lead changes. Oklahoma held the early advantage, but the Gauchos were able to tie the game at 10-10 after three straight Sooner errors. UCSB held the lead for the majority of the middle of the game, but was unable to distance itself by more than three points at a time.
Oklahoma recovered from the three-point deficit to once again tie the game at 20-20. A pair of ties ensued and at 27-27, Oklahoma tallied two straight kills to reach game point. McLaughlin hammered a kill to bring the Gauchos back within one, but Blum followed with a kill of her own to take game two for the Sooners, 30-28.
There were several early ties in the third frame, but Oklahoma hit a match-best .298 to breeze past the Gauchos, 30-22.
UCSB will conclude tournament play Saturday evening with a match versus first-time opponent Virginia at 5 pm.