January 22, 2010

Double-Double from Irons Topples UC Irvine, Gauchos win 3-1

Jan. 22, 2010

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- - Cullen Irons secured his second double-double of the season as the No. 11 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team upset defending national champions No. 4 UC Irvine, 3-1, Friday night at the Bren Events Center. Match scores were 32-30, 30-32, 30-28, and 30-25 in favor of UCSB.

Irons rattled off 22 kills to go along with 10 digs while hitting at a .375 clip. Jeff Menzel led the Gauchos in kills on the night, tallying 27 on 53 attack attempts. On his first kill of the night, Menzel surpassed Rob Treahy (1994-97) to move into ninth place all-time in Gaucho history in career kills. Dylan Davis connected on five swing attempts and added three service aces. Vince Devany had a season-high 65 assists.

For UCI, Connor Hughes had 14 kills while Kevin Carroll followed with seven. Ian Wynne totaled 38 assists. The Anteaters had seven aces.

With the win, the Gauchos improve to 2-5 overall, 2-2 in the MPSF. UCI moves to 4-4, 1-3 in the MPSF. The Anteaters have lost three straight matches.

Irons opened the first set on fire, collecting six kills, an ace and an assist as the Gauchos took the first set from UCI. Tied at 28-28, Carroll and Irons traded kills before Jake Rosener and UCI's Carson Clark exchanged errors. At 30 apiece, Slaughter stuffed the Anteaters with a block before Menzel's sixth kill of the set ended it, 32-30 in favor of the Gauchos.

Knotted at 12-12 in the third set, a Rosener kill combined with two UCI errors gave UCSB a slim 15-12 lead. The Gauchos held this three-point margin until another Anteater error and a kill from Irons gave the Gauchos a five-point lead at 21-16. UCI managed to rattle off three consecutive points later in the set, bringing them back within one at 23-22.

After a Rosener kill, Cole Reinholm and Hughes connected on swings to make it 25-24 in favor of the Gauchos. Hughes followed that play with a block and Ian Wynne snuck-in an ace to give the Anteaters a 26-25 lead.

UCSB answered with three straight points. Rosener connected with kill and then Scott Slaughter followed a kill with a resounding block along the left side to give UCSB a 28-26 lead. Kills from Anteaters Jordan DuFault and Cory Yoder tied the match at 28 apiece, but the Anteaters erred on their next two swing attempts, giving the Gauchos a 30-28 set-three victory.

In the fourth set the teams were stalled at 17-17 before a UCI error and a pair of aces from Davis made it 20-17 UCSB. UCI came back with a block, but Rosener followed his subsequent kill with an ace down the line to make it 22-18 and force UCI to take a timeout. UCSB would hold a four-point margin until UCI brought it back within three at 27-24. Irons and Rosener connected with a pair of kills to make it 29-24. After Hughes connected on his next attack to make it 29-25, Menzel ended the match with his 25th kill of the night, giving the Gauchos a 30-25 win.

It marks the first time the Gauchos have defeated the Anteaters since 2006.

The Gauchos next match is a road contest, Thursday, January 28th against Stanford. UCSB will travel to Pacific the next day, January 29th to take on the Tigers. Both matches start at 7 p.m. and can be followed on Gametracker at UCSBgauchos.com.

UCSB's next home match is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3rd, as the Gauchos welcome Pepperdine to Rob Gym. Two days later, UCSB will host No. 1 USC at home as well.

This season, fans have several options to purchase men's volleyball tickets. Online sales are through Ticket Return. Just go to UCSBgauchos.com, roll over "Tickets", and click on "Buy Now Print from Home." Then click on the Men's Volleyball section.