Feb. 12, 2010
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Jeff Menzel tallied a career-high 34 kills as the No. 10 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team came from behind to upset No. 6 Long Beach State, 3-2, Friday night at Walter Pyramid. Set scores were 24-30, 30-26, 31-33, 30-22, and 15-13 in favor of UCSB.
The Gauchos improve to 5-7 overall, 5-4 in the MPSF while the 49ers drop to 5-5 overall, 4-3 in conference play. UCSB had previously lost two five-set matches to Long Beach State in early January, both at home in Rob Gym. The Gauchos are now 4-1 on the road.
Menzel had seven kills in the final frame and finished with an overall .294 (34-14-68) hitting percentage. He secured his first double double on the season, adding 11 digs. Cullen Irons was second on the team in kills with 15 and Scott Slaughter was close behind with 13. Vince Devany dished out a season-high 78 assists, one away from tying his career-high.
Dean Bittner did most of the offensive work for the 49ers, hitting .320 by finishing with 38 kills on 75 total attempts with 14 errors. Antwain Aguillard hit .471 (11-3-17) and added six blocks. Conor Eaton had 63 assists.
The Gauchos never hit higher than .278 as a team through the first three sets before exploding for a .400 (20-3-34) clip in their 30-22 fourth-set victory.
Menzel drew first blood in the final set, connecting on a kill down the line and then another off a 49er block to give the Gauchos a 2-0 lead. The teams traded points until Slaughter's swing attempt was blocked by Aguilar, making it 4-4. Menzel answered with his thirtieth kill of the night, but was matched by Bittner.
After the teams traded courts with the Gauchos leading 8-7, Menzel flew in from the back row, pummeling a ball down the middle, tying his career high for kills (32) while making it 9-7 UCSB. The 49ers were able to block Menzel's next two attempts, making it 9-9. A kill from Cullen Irons gave the Gauchos a slight 11-10 lead, but UCSB followed with a ball handling error.
Bittner hit his next swing attempt just wide and Menzel was able to extend the lead to 13-11 on his final attack attempt of the night. Long Beach called timeout to regroup, but UCSB's Jake Rosener aced his next serve to make it 14-11 in favor of the Gauchos. The 49ers were able to get the match back within a point, but a service error by Dalton Ammerman cost Long Beach the match as the Gauchos escaped with the 15-13 victory.
UCSB is back in action Saturday night as they take on UC San Diego at 7 p.m. in RIMAC Arena. The Gauchos are 1-1 against the Tritons this season. UCSB defeated UCSD 3-2 January 16th in Rob Gym, the only five-set match the Gauchos had won in the 2010 season until Friday night.
The Gauchos next home match is Wednesday, February 17th against UCLA.
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.