Feb. 18, 2011
The fourth-ranked Gauchos entered their match against No. 2 BYU riding a five-match losing streak against the Cougars. Morale appeared to be low following a discouraging 3-1 loss on Thursday night, but any ill effects from that match did not extend to Friday night, as the Gauchos topped BYU in straight sets, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22). The Gauchos have now won four of their last five matches, and now stand at 9-6, with a 7-5 record in MPSF play. With the loss, BYU drops to 11-4, 7-3 MPSF.
The Gauchos were led in kills by senior opposite Cullen Irons, who finished with 18. Two other Gauchos joined Irons in the double-digit club, as senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel recorded 13 to go along with sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis's 11. Senior setter Vince Devany and senior libero Andy McGuire had six digs apiece to lead the Gauchos.
In the first set, the Gauchos were able to take advantage of strong games from all their starters. Irons had 6 of his kills in the game, and Menzel recorded a perfect hitting percentage in the first set for the second night in the row. Devany dished out an even dozen assists, and senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter recorded three of his four blocks in the first set- quelling any doubts about the health of his ankle. A late Dylan Davis ace set the table for the Gauchos, who captured the set following an emphatic block from Slaughter.
The Gauchos continued their roll into the beginning of the second set, capturing the first five points on the back of Jeff Menzel's serving, who recorded two aces at the outset of the second game. Similar to the first set, an ace by Cullen Irons set the table for senior outside hitter Trey Valbuena to put the nail in the coffin- Valbuena finished the night with three kills. Menzel and Irons finished the game with five kills apiece.
The third set seemed to indicate the return to form by the Cougars, as BYU's Futi Tavana and Taylor Sander terrorized the Gaucho attack at the net, at one point compiling four blocks on four consecutive plays. Eventually the Gauchos were able to penetrate the Cougar defense- Irons had seven kills in the decisive game, while Menzel had five. The match ended on an ace from Menzel, who finished with three aces.
Slaughter and Davis both finished with astronomical hitting percentages, swinging .833 and .556 respectively. Devany also finished the night with 40 assists.
The Gauchos head to Northern California next weekend to face off against Pacific and defending national champions Stanford. The Gauchos will not return to Rob Gym until Mar. 2 against third-ranked Long Beach State.
A donation to the Gaucho Fund - regardless of the sport it supports - will be part of the One Donation is Gold system. This allows donors to purchase priority/premium seating and parking at UCSB games across several sports in addition to other benefits.
GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics. Members receive a free GKids t-shirt, free admittance to tons of Gaucho games, opportunities to be ball boys and girls at games, a special birthday greeting from Olie (the GKids mascot) and much, much more! For more information on GKids, or to become a member, please click here.