Jan. 28, 2011
The way UCSB played on Friday night, one would never knew they came into the match riding a 10-game losing streak against Pepperdine. The Gauchos claimed the match in straight sets, 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-17). The win improved the Gauchos record to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in MPSF play. Pepperdine dropped to 2-5, 0-5 MPSF.
The Gauchos had three players record double-digit kills in the match- senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel had 15, senior opposite Cullen Irons racked up 11, and senior middle blocker, Scott Slaughter recorded an even dozen. UCSB recorded an overall hitting percentage of .563 for the match. Senior setter Vince Devany had 40 assists on the evening.
In the first set, Slaughter and Menzel paved the way with 6 kills apiece. The duo also accounted for 3 blocks. Devany also had his most productive set, recording 17 of his 40 assists. The Gauchos survived a late charge by Pepperdine, as Maurice Torres recorded back to back aces that brought the score to 24-23. Menzel ended the would-be comeback with an emphatic kill at the end of a lengthy rally. Following a season long trend of restricting the opposition to low first set hitting percentages, Pepperdine was only able to swing at a .179 clip for the set.
The second set was not so close. The Gauchos, already up by a hefty amount, pulled away when senior libero Andy McGuire made an impressive pancake dig to set up Cullen Iron's kill. The Gauchos swung at a lofty .842 percentage in the second set. Menzel recorded 7 of his 15 kills in the second set, including his second set-clincher of the night.
The third set saw more of the same from the Gauchos. Pepperdine was held to a .111 hitting percentage as Slaughter and sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis teamed up to clog up the Waves' attack. Slaughter and Davis accounted for half of UCSB's team blocks. Every Gaucho who recorded an attack besides senior outside hitter Trey Valbuena had a hitting percentage above .545.
The Gauchos travel to Hawai'i next week to play a pair of games against the Rainbow Warriors. UCSB next plays at home on Friday, February 11 against UCLA.
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The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.