Vandal volleyball upsets #13 UC Santa Barbara

Senior middle blocker <b>Sarah Meek</b>, a 1st Team All Big West selection last season (23rd in the nation last year in blocks), led the Vandal volleyball team to a victory over perrenial power UC Santa Barbara, ranked #13 in the nation at the time, in a home match this weekend in Memorial Gym. Sarah was voted this week's Big West Volleyball Player of the Week for he effort Saturday, which included 4 aces, 14 kills and only 2 errors. The Vandals (10-5, 4-3 BWC) are currently 6th in the BWC.

For the second year in a row, the Vandal volleyball team upset the 13th ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in front of 1,273 noisy fans at Memorial Gym.

"We're excited, this is a huge win for us," Vandal head coach Debbie Buchanan said. "I thought the kids played really well. Throughout the match they were able to keep the focus on and that's what we needed to do."

The Vandals began the match strong by winning the first two games, but the Gauchos clawed back in game three and four, tying up the match and forcing a game five. Game five was a back and forth effort by both teams. The Gauchos tied the game 12-12, but two errors by the Gauchos and a kill by Vandal middle blocker Kati Tikker won the game for Idaho 15-12.

"I think that's a game we were pretty much ready for," middle blocker Sarah Meek said. "We're having a lot of fun and had pride in that game."

It was a career night for the Idaho Vandals, as Meek recorded 27 kills and setter Mandy Becker received her 1,000th career dig. Becker had 15 digs and 59 assists in the match.

"I think this is what we've been looking for," Becker said. "We have to win for the rest of the season and we know it. We needed this win to know that we are good."

Idaho plays rival Washington State in Memorial Gym on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Currently, the Vandals are 10-5 (4-3, Big West Conference) on the season.

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