No. 22 Santa Clara Volleyball Edged 3-2 By UC Santa Barbara

No. 22 Santa Clara Volleyball Edged 3-2 By UC Santa Barbara

Sept. 15, 2007

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite Brittany Lowe's match-high 24 kills, the No. 22 Bronco volleyball team lost a hard-fought battle against the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara, 3-2 (28-30, 31-29, 30-21, 27-30, 12-15), Saturday night at the Leavey Center. With the loss SCU dropped to 7-5 overall, while UCSB improved to 5-7 on the season.

"I believe our team felt as though they should have won the first game tonight," said head coach Jon Wallace. "That is why we came out with a high sense of determination in the second and third games. Then we started out as the aggressors in games four and five, but Santa Barbara found a way to get back in the game. They made some pretty nice plays. It is going to be a battle of wills tomorrow. Both us and Notre Dame lost in five today, so whoever wants it more is going to be the victor. We are going to have to stay strong willed in order to compete."

Lowe's attacking effort in the match tonight as just two kills shy of her career-high, which was against WCC opponent Saint Mary's on Oct. 28, 2006. Freshman Krista Kelley tied her season-high 17 kills, while Nina Sevastopoulos and Lindsy Evans chipped in with 13 kills each. Senior setter Crystal Matich dished out a match-high 67 assists and compiled a career-best 22 digs to lead the Broncos. Senior libero Caroline Walters was right behind her with 20 digs, and Taylor O'Brien added 11 digs.

The Gauchos opened the first game on a kill from Rebecca Saraceno, but Broncos' leading score, Evans answered right back, putting SCU on the board. Santa Barbara continued to hold an edge over Santa Clara but another Evans kill knotted the score, 9-9. The two teams faced an intense game one as they tied the score nine times. UCSB produced a 4-1 run to bring the score to 27-25, but three straight kills from Lowe knotted the score, 28-28, for SCU. However, a kill from Lauren McLaughlin would end the first game, 30-28, for the Gauchos.

Santa Clara exploded in the beginning of the first game, jumping to a quick 4-1 lead on points from Evans, Lauryn Dowd and Alex Scoffone. Although Santa Barbara rallied back to tie the score, 8-8, Santa Clara pushed a head on back-to-back kills and a solo block from Evans, 12-9. The Gauchos fought back and took a small edge, on an attack from Saraceno, 19-17, but Kelley posted two consecutive kills to knot the score, 19-19. Evans slammed the ball down for the Broncos to give them a 21-20 advantage and Lowe widened the gap to two-points, 22-20, shortly after. Rallied on strong service from O'Brien, Santa Clara took its largest lead of the match, 25-20. But UCSB fought back again to take the lead. A long rallied battled on saves from O'Brien, Walters and Lowe, and a dump from Matich, knotted the score again for the Broncos, 29-29. A Scoffone and Matich block brought Santa Clara to game point and a block solo from Kelley ended game, 31-29.

Once again the Broncos rallied behind service efforts of O'Brien and solid plays from Lowe to open game three with an 8-3 lead. A kill from Matich brought the Broncos to an 11-3 lead. Even though the Gauchos began to close in on the Broncos, SCU kept constant edge on points from Lowe and Dowd. A block from Sevastopoulos gave Santa Clara a seven-point lead, 19-12, and forced UCSB to take its last timeout of the game. A dive from Walters saved the point for the Broncos as Matich set Sevastopoulos once again to bring the Broncos to 20-points, 20-13. SCU held the advantage for the remainder of the game, while a kill from Matich gave Santa Clara a 30-21 win.

The Broncos began game four similar to the previous, creating a 3-0 start on a kill from Lowe, a Dowd service ace and a Gauchos error. However, this time around, UCSB fought back quicker and tied the score3-3 on an ace from Saraceno. Scoffone tied the score again for the Broncos, 7-7, and a kill from Matich gave SCU the edge once again. A pair of kills from Lowe and Matich made the score, 12-7. A third time was a charm for Sevastopoulos who got the kill off a block after a long rally, which included Matich setting her three times. The Broncos then controlled the scoreboard with a score of 18-14. Freshman Kelley got on top of the ball to bring the score to 20-15. But the Gauchos rallied back and knotted the score, 24-24. Going point-for-point, UCSB broke ahead and won the fourth game, 30-27, on a block from Brett Quirarte.

A kill from Sevastopoulos gave the Broncos a 2-0 start in the deceive game, but strong serving from UCSB's Jessica Welch knotted the score, 3-3. A kill from Saraceno put the Gauchos up by three, 6-3. The Gauchos continued control of the fifth game and opened the score to 11-7 on a block assist from Saraceno and Dana Vargas. A kill from Saraceno brought UCSB to match point, but a high-powered kill from Lowe kept the Broncos alive, 14-10. Back-to-back kills from Sevastopoulos brought SCU within two, but a kill from McLaughlin ended the match, 15-12.

For the Gauchos, McLaughlin and Saraceno tied the team-best 18 kills, while Leigh Stephenson registered a match-high 23 digs.

The Broncos return to action in the final match of the 2007 SCU Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 16. Santa Clara will take on Notre Dame at 11 a.m., at the Leavey Center.

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