UCSB bounced back from its home-opening loss to Pacific a day earlier with a three-set sweep over Big West Conference foe UC Davis on Saturday night at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos defeated the Aggies 25-16, 26-24, 25-11 to earn their first home win of the 2008 season.

With the victory, UCSB improves to 7-8 on the season and 3-1 in the Big West, marking its best conference start since the 2005 season. The Aggies fall to 8-9 overall and 0-4 in Big West play.

For the second night in a row, the Gauchos’ offensive effort was led by sophomore outside hitter Charlene DeHoog, who posted 11 kills on 14 attempts for a .786 hitting percentage. She also tallied a service ace and two block assists in the win. Senior outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin was the only other Gaucho to crack double-digits for kills with 10. She also chipped in three service aces, six digs and five block assists.

Sophomore middle blocker Kasey Kipp was also error-less as she laid down seven kills on 11 attempts for a .636 clip. Kipp led the team at the net with six total blocks. As a team, the Gauchos out-blocked Davis 12-4.5.

Sophomore Dana Vargas dished out 27 assists and also tallied two kills, four digs and two block assists. Freshman middle blocker Lily Lopez had five blocks and two aces to go along with a pair of kills.

Renee Ibekwe led the Aggies with 11 kills in the loss. She also tallied one ace and four digs. Carson Lowden had a team-high 17 helpers in the match while Asia Casino dished out 13 assists and also tied teammate Avreeta Singh with a match-high seven digs.

The Gauchos scored the first two points of the match, but UCD climbed out to a narrow 4-3 advantage on a Gauchos attack error. The lead proved to be the last of the set for the Aggies as UCSB went on a 4-0 run behind Lopez’s serving to take an 8-4 advantage. UCD nipped at the Gauchos’ heels for a while but UCSB displayed a solid .462 team hitting percentage across the set and took the frame, 25-16.

UCD came back with a vengeance in the second set and commanded the lead from the first point. The Aggies stretched their advantage to as many as four points on five different occasions. Trailing 17-13, the Gauchos went on a four-point run that included a pair of aces by McLaughlin to tie the set for the first time at 17-17. Davis was able to regain the lead on a kill by Melanie Adams and found its way to match-point first at 24-21 with a block by Katie Denny and Chantal Paschetta.

One point away from dropping the second set, UCSB’s Rebecca Saraceno posted a kill, which was followed by a block from Kipp, to climb back within one at 24-23. A series of three UCD errors put the Gauchos on top, 26-24.

The third set was all UCSB as it hit a match-best .545 (12k, 0e, 22att) on its way to the 25-11 set victory and the 3-0 match win.

UCSB travels to Long Beach State on Oct. 11 for a Big West Conference match.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.