After succumbing to two of the top four ranked teams in the nation in its first two matches of the 2001 season, the UCSB women’s volleyball team found a morsel of breathing room in the Santa Clara Invitational on September 8-9.

The Gauchos, ranked #18 in the most recent USA Today coaches poll, lost three games to one win in their opener against then #4 Wisconsin at Irvine on September 1. The very next day, #1 Nebraska downed Santa Barbara in three straight games at Long Beach.

During the Santa Clara Invitational the following weekend, UCSB bounced back to win two of its next three matches, beginning with a roasting of North Carolina, 3-0. Later on in the first day of the invitational, the Gauchos lost to their third ranked opponent of the season by falling to #20 Santa Clara in straight sets.

Santa Barbara again rebounded with game wins of 30-19, 30-27 and 30-27 for a 3-0 match win against Creighton to close out the Santa Clara Invitational on a positive note. Junior middle blocker and First Team All-Big West Danielle Bauer paced the Gauchos with 15 kills and six blocks. Junior opposite/outside hitter and Second Team All-Big West Brooke Niles contributed 12 kills. Sophomore opposite hitter Erica Menzel, another Second Team All-Big West selection in 2000, had 11 kills with a .273 hitting percentage to lead the Gauchos. Overall, UCSB had a team hitting percentage of .241 versus Creighton’s .143 percentage.

Santa Barbara opens its Big West competition at #2 Long Beach State tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Results from the match at #5 Southern California at Los Angeles were not available at press time.

-Nexus Staff Report