Nov. 17, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior Brett Quirarte shined during her final match in the Thunderdome as she posted 16 kills and a .625 clip as the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team posted a 30-23, 30-16, 30-20 win over Big West opponent UC Riverside Saturday evening.
With the win, UCSB improves to 11-18 overall and finishes with a 6-10 conference record, marking the first season that the Gauchos have finished Big West action with a sub-.500 mark. UC Riverside falls to 6-21 and 2-14 in conference matches.
Quirarte led the way for the Gauchos collecting 16 kills on 24 attempts with just one error. She also tallied one solo and three assisted blocks. Junior Lauren McLaughlin collected 11 kills and 11 digs along with three total blocks while sophomore Rebecca Saraceno had nine kills, two aces and seven digs.
UCSB's other graduating senior, Lauren Smith, posted four kills and three block assists. Freshman setter Dana Vargas had 40 assists, an ace, eight digs and two blocks. Junior libero Leigh Stephenson tallied 21 digs and freshman Caitlin Saxton chipped in 13.
Dominique Cowling posted 11 kills for Riverside while Angie Mitchell notched 10 kills with a .381 clip and four total blocks. Kimberly McNeal had 18 digs and Brittney Murrey had 32 assists, two aces and nine digs.
The Gauchos climbed out to an early lead in game one, but the Highlanders were never far behind, trailing by no more than three points throughout most of the frame. Leading 16-15, UCSB posted a 4-0 run to gain its biggest advantage of the game at 20-16. UCSB controlled the rest of the frame and a kill from McLaughlin brought the Gauchos to game point. A Highlander error sealed the win at 30-23. Quirarte had eight kills in the first frame and hit an impressive .800; collectively the Gauchos hit .341 in the frame.
UCSB captured the immediate lead in game two and never looked back. Leading 18-13, the Gauchos posted a 4-0 run which they followed up with a 5-0 run to lead 27-14. A Highlander ball handling error brought UCSB to game point and a kill two plays later grabbed the Gauchos the 30-16 victory.
The Gauchos came out on fire and quickly jumped out to an 11-4 advantage in game three forcing a Riverside timeout. Neither team was in its top form as UCSB hit a match-low .159 in the frame, but the Gauchos held the Highlanders to a -.022 clip and were able to capture the win, 30-20.
Santa Barbara will finish its season on the road at the Baden Thanksgiving Classic held next Friday and Saturday in Long Beach. The Gauchos will open the tournament with a match against Temple at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23.