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Volleyball: Long Beach State Outlasts Gauchos in Five Sets

UCSB's Lauren McLaughlin posts a career-high tying 27 kills in the loss.

UCSB’s women’s volleyball team jumped out to a 2-1 lead after three sets Saturday night at Long Beach State, but failed to close the door, falling to the 49ers, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 15-9, in a Big West Conference showdown.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 7-9 overall on the season and 3-2 in Big West play. Long Beach State improves to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in conference action.

Senior outside hitter Lauren McLaughlin led the Gauchos with a career-high tying 27 kills in the match. She recorded a solid .318 hitting percentage, committing just six errors in her 66 attempts. She also tallied a team-best 20 digs and contributed two block assists.

Junior outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno was second on the team with 16 kills. She also had five assists, one ace and eight digs in the loss. Sophomore outside hitter Charlene DeHoog rounded out the double-digit kill performances for UCSB with her 12 kills. She also notched two aces and tied with Kasey Kipp and Lily Lopez for a team-leading four block assists.

Sophomore setter Dana Vargas tallied 53 assists, a season-high, and also had nine digs. Libero Leigh Stephenson, a senior from Nipomo High, had 15 kills and junior outside hitter Chelsea Pavlik collected 10.

For the 49ers, Caitlin Ledoux led the way with 22 kills on 53 attempts for a .340 clip. She also collected 14 digs and three total blocks. Quincy Verdin chipped in 20 kills and a .318
clip for Long Beach State. Naomi Washington tallied 11 kills on 22 attempts with no errors for a team-leading .500 hitting percentage.

Setter Nicole Vargas, Dana’s sister, dished out 60 assists and also had 10 digs. Ashley Lee and Iris Murray each collected 20 digs for Long Beach.

The Gauchos fought through 15 ties and seven lead changes in the first set and, despite being outhit .268 to .237, prevailed to take the 25-23 victory. Long Beach State battled back
in the second set, in which UCSB hit a match-low .068 collectively, and took the frame 25-21.

UCSB rebounded and hit a match-best .340 in the third set, committing just two errors. The Gauchos battled through nine ties and four lead changes to take the 26-24 victory and capture a 2-1 advantage. Unfortunately, Long Beach saved its best for the last.

The 49ers outhit UCSB .389 to .116 in the fourth set on their way to the 25-19 win. Long Beach closed the door in the fifth set, not once relinquishing the lead, as it hit a collective .381 during the frame, landing eight kills on 21 attempts with no errors. The 49ers won set five 15-9 to capture the 3-2 match victory.

UCSB will play at No. 22 Cal Poly on Thursday.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.

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