UCSB women’s volleyball team opened the 2008 season with a three-set win (25-20, 25-20, 25-21) over St. John’s on Saturday afternoon at the Cal Molten Classic hosted by UC Berkeley.

With the victory, the Gauchos get out to a 1-0 start on the season and stretch their current win streak — carried over from 2007 — to five consecutive matches. The win brings head coach Kathy Gregory‘s career count to 799 victories, putting her one shy of her 800th at UCSB. St. John’s, which opened the season with a three-set loss to Cal on Friday, falls to 0-2.

The Gauchos were led by junior outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno, who logged 13 kills on 38 attacks (4e, .237). Sophomore setter Dana Vargas pushed the pace for UCSB, picking up 25 assists and adding a kill of her own and two aces. Libero Leigh Stephenson, a senior from Nipomo High, tallied 12 digs and sophomore middle blocker Kasey Kipp contributed a match-high seven block assists. UCSB hit .185 and secured 38 kills on 108 attacks (18e).

The Red Storm battled the Gauchos in each set, forcing nine ties throughout the course of the match, but UCSB was able to pull away each time. Six service errors and five service receiving errors eventually did in St. John’s. Sophomore middle blocker Song Kun put down 10 kills to lead her team.

UCSB faces the No. 5-ranked Golden Bears in a 1 p.m. match Sunday at Haas Pavilion.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.