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UCSB Volleyball: Gauchos Stretch Losing Streak

The women's team drops its fourth consecutive match in 3-1 loss to Loyola Marymount.

The UCSB women’s volleyball team’s recent woes continued Tuesday as it dropped it fourth consecutive match in a 3-1 loss at Loyola Marymount. The Lions defeated the Gauchos, 25-15, 17-25, 25-16, 25-22.

With the loss, the Gaucho record falls to 3-6 on the season while the Lions improve to 8-3 overall.

Outside hitters senior Lauren McLaughlin and sophomore Charlene DeHoog each tallied nine kills in the loss. DeHoog also posted two aces, six digs and two blocks. McLaughlin was second on the team with a season-best 16 digs in the match and also posted two aces and two blocks. Freshman Whittany Radcliffe posted a career-best seven kills in the match and tallied four blocks.

Sophomore setter Dana Vargas dished out 19 assists while Jessica Welch had 12. Senior Leigh Stephenson led the squad with 19 digs.

Emily Day, who posted 20 kills and 15 digs, led the Lions in the win. Erin Downey was also solid, tallying 11 kills with a .588 clip (1e, 17att). Downey also had 10 block assists during the match. Setter Renee Horton dished out 39 assists and Whitney Leonard led Loyola Marymount with 17 digs.

The Lions hit well on the night, but it was their defense in sets one, three and four that spelled doom for UCSB. LMU held the Gauchos to .034, .083, and -.025 hitting percentages over those three sets, respectively.

The Lions came out swinging in the first set, led by Day’s seven kills and Diana Hiromoto’s four service aces. LMU quickly jumped-out to an early 8-3 advantage on three Hiromoto service aces, including back-to-back daggers to force a UCSB timeout. Day put the Lions up 12-6 with a kill before both squads exchanged attack errors to run the tally to 13-7.

With freshman Lauren DeGrandmont serving, Day collected consecutive kills to force the second UCSB timeout. The break had very little effect on the Lion momentum as Day found the floor again to run the tally to 16-7. Hiromoto once again got the best of the Gauchos from the service line, running the score to 20-10 with her fourth and final ace of the match.

UCSB managed to steal some momentum late in the set, as DeHoog and Nikki Doyle posted kills and consecutive Lion attack errors ran the tally to 20-14. Downey took it upon herself to put a halt to the momentum shift, collecting two kills before a Gaucho attack error by DeHoog and kills by freshman Ariana Covington and sophomore Becky Stehling handed LMU the first set at 25-15.

The Gauchos showed why they are a perennial powerhouse in NCAA volleyball in set two, hitting .310 (11k, 2e, 29att) en route to a 25-17 set-two win. McLaughlin led the way with four of her nine kills in the period, while the Gauchos managed to collect 16 digs and six block assists on the defensive end.

Vargas got the set going for UCSB, posting a service ace for point one. The two teams dueled to a 6-6 tie early before kills by DeHoog and Radcliffe ran the score to 11-7 in favor of UCSB to force the first Lion timeout. That lead was extended to 13-7 right out of the break as Stephenson notched a service ace and Horton was called for a bad set. The Gauchos returned the favor via a bad set on the ensuing play, but proceeded to take a 17-9 lead, and force another LMU timeout, on a Lion attack error and kills by Rebecca Saraceno and McLaughlin.

After another LMU attack error to open play after the timeout, McLaughlin pushed the Gauchos to the 20-point plateau at 20-10 with two more kills. The Lions refused to surrender the set easily, inching back to 23-15 and fighting-off two Gaucho set points with a pair of kills. UCSB took the set on a LMU service error at 24-17.

The Lions were back at it again in set three, and once again it was Day who took the reins and guided LMU to a 25-16 decision. Day finished the set with six kills on 14 attacks, and was the only Lion to collect more than one kill in the period. Despite hitting just .083 in the set, the Gauchos did get reliable attacks from Kasey Kipp, who posted a .750 mark with three kills on four attacks.

LMU earned an early 7-2 lead in the set as four Gaucho attack errors proved costly. After the Gauchos were called for a bad set and Day put away one of her 20 kills on the night, UCSB was forced to call its first timeout at 10-5. The teams traded points to 13-8 before Stehling served-up an ace and UCSB committed two more attack errors to put the Lions on top by eight points. A kill by Radcliffe cut the lead to 20-12, but Welch then charged with back-to-back bad sets, as Kathy Gregory decided to call her final timeout with the score reading 22-12.

UCSB posted the first point out of the break on a DeHoog kill, but a Stehling kill and the final Gaucho attack error of the set ran the tally to set point in favor of LMU. UCSB fought-off two set points as DeHoog recorded an ace and McLaughlin a kill, but Day answered right back for the Lions, putting the final spike to the floor to give the Lions a 2-1 set advantage in the match.

Set four proved fairly even despite UCSB hitting for a negative average over the span. DeHoog and McLaughlin each collected three kills in the period, while Day, Downey and Covington recorded four, three and three for the Lions, respectively. LMU scored the first two points of the set before UCSB answered to knot the period at four points apiece.

Unable to afford to lose another set, UCSB was forced to call a timeout after an attack error and a Covington kill put the Lions on top by two at 6-4. The Lions advanced the lead to 10-6 on yet another Gaucho attack error, but the tide soon began to sway in favor of UCSB. A kill by Radcliffe put the score at 13-10 before Horton was called for a bad set and Day sent an attack sailing long, leaving the Gauchos just one point behind at 13-12.  The two teams fought back-and-forth before Vargas recorded a kill to force an LMU timeout at 18-17.

After the break, McLaughlin gave UCSB a fourth-set lead with consecutive service aces to run the tally to 20-19. LMU and UCSB then competed to ties at 20, 21 and 22 before a Day kill forced Gregory’s final timeout at 23-22. The timeout proved ineffective as a Gaucho attack error ran the match to its final point. After Day’s ensuing serve was returned in the form of a free-ball at the net, Downey put it away for the final point of the match.

The Gauchos will head to Malibu this weekend for the Pepperdine Asics Classic. UCSB will face No. 21 Pepperdine at 7:30 p.m. Friday and will take on Texas on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.

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