Volleyball Opens Friday at No. 11 Cal, Home Slate Starts Monday at Rob Gym

Aug. 27, 2010

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• The Schedule
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Cal Molten Classic
UC Santa Barbara at No. 11 Cal
at Cal's Haas Pavilion (11,877)
Series record vs. the Bears - 13-5
Streak - Lost 1
Last time out vs. the Bears - L, 3-0 (8/31/08)
Game available via Gametracker

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.
Cal Molten Classic
UC Santa Barbara vs. Manhattan
at Cal's Haas Pavilion (11,877)
Series record vs. the Jaspers - First-ever meeting
Streak - N/A
Last time out vs. the Jaspers - N/A
Game available via Gametracker

Monday, August 30, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cincinnati
at UCSB's Rob Gym (1,000)
Series record vs. the Bearcats - First-ever meeting
Streak - N/A
Last time out vs. the Bearcats - N/A
Game available via Gametracker.

• Welcome Back
Following its first 20-win season since 2005 and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, UC Santa Barbara opens its 2010 season with five returning starters. Leading the way will be 2009 All-American Honorable Mention selection, senior setter Dana Vargas and All-Big West First Team pick, junior middle blocker Stacey Schmidt. Though the Gauchos lost Big West Player of the Year and All-American outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno to graduation, the team returns junior middle blocker Lily Lopez, sophomore outside hitter Leah Sully and junior libero Chelsey Lowe, all starters.

• A CLASSy Lady
Senior setter Dana Vargas was named as a nominee for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, one of just 30 volleyball players in the nation to be nominated for the prestigious award. Vargas is the only Big West player to be nominated.

• Tough Start
UCSB did not schedule lightly this year, facing seven teams listed in the AVCA Top-25 preseason poll. The Gauchos start the year against No. 11 Cal, the highest-ranked team UCSB has faced since Sept. 12, 2008 when No. 7 Stanford swept the Gauchos. Then, UCSB begins its home schedule on Monday when it hosts Cincinnati, ranked No. 32 in the AVCA poll. The Bearcats received two more votes than the Gauchos in the preseason tally.

• Poll Position
UCSB opened the season receiving votes in the AVCA poll, the first such time since the 2007 preseason poll. The Gauchos ended 2009 receiving votes for 13 straight weeks. The last time UCSB was in the Top-25 was Sept. 12, 2005 when the team was No. 24.

• Third is the Word
In a preseason poll among Big West coaches, UCSB was tabbed to finish third in the conference behind Long Beach State and UC Irvine, respectively. The Gauchos received one first-place vote and 65 overall points, just three behind UCI. Long Beach State received seven first-place votes and 79 total points. UCSB went 3-1 against the 49ers and Anteaters last season.

• Valuable Vargas
Dana Vargas finished last season with 1,297 total assists, the second time in three seasons she had over 1,000. The Seal Beach, Calif. native ended the 2009 campaign with an average of 10.90 assists per set, which ranked 40th in the nation. She opens the 2010 campaign in fourth place all-time with 3,524 career assists. There is a chance the senior could become just the third setter in UCSB history to reach 5,000, joining Liz Towne (1985-88) and Brooke Rundle (1998-2001) as the only setters at UCSB to reach the mark.

• `Dome Sweet `Dome
UCSB finished last season 11-1 in the friendly confines of the Thunderdome, marking the most by a Gaucho team at home in seven seasons. The last team to play at least 10 matches at home and lose just once was in 2003 when the Gauchos finished 9-1. The last UCSB squad to win 10 home matches was in 2002 when UCSB was 12-3, including NCAA Tournament matches.

• In Her Sights
UCSB's legendary head coach, Kathy Gregory, is fourth all-time amongst active Division I coaches with 831 victories and by the end of the year could become just the sixth coach in NCAA Division I history to achieve 850 in a career.

• Stay in Touch With the Gauchos
UCSB players are frequently updating Gaucho fans about the team through the school's website - UCSBgauchos.com. Defensive specialist Katie Ring will regularly write in her "Ring it On" blog and libero Chelsey Lowe provides constant Twitter updates. Follow her at twitter.com/ucsbvolleyball.

The Gauchos will host Cincinnati on Monday, August 30 at 7 p.m. Rob Gym. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.

GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.