March 1, 2008
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Senior Theo Brunner put away a career high 26 kills, but it wasn't enough as the No. 12 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team lost in five games at No. 2 Long Beach State Saturday. The Gauchos came back from two games down, but couldn't put the match away.
Game scores from the Gold Mine were 30-27, 30-28, 28-30, 25-30, and 15-13. UCSB, which has lost three straight, fell to 7-10 overall and 5-8 in the MPSF. Long Beach State improved to 13-2 and 9-2.
In game five, the Gauchos scored three consecutive points on a Mike Runkle kill, a block, and a Cullen Irons ace to take a 12-9 lead. However, the 49ers came right back with three scores of their own on a Paul Lotman kill and a pair of UCSB attack errors. Brunner put Santa Barbara up 13-12 with his final kill of the match, but LBSU reeled off another three straight points to secure the victory. A kill by Dan Alexander evened the game at 13-13 and an ace by Lotman gave Long Beach its first lead of the game. A Gaucho hitting error put an end to the match.
Brunner's 26 kills eclipsed his previous career high of 25, set this season against Hawai'i. The middle blocker also set a new career best with 28.5 points as he added three blocks - two solos and one assisted.
Freshman opposite Jeff Menzel had 22 kills, six digs, three blocks, and 24.5 points. Vince DeVany, another true freshman, amassed a career high 60 assists from the setter position. Senior Ben Brockman had a match high 16 digs.
For Long Beach, Dean Bittner had 24 kills and Lotman followed with 20. The 49ers out-blocked the Gauchos 14 to 9 as Tommy Pestolesi had seven blocks and Alexander had six.
UCSB out-hit Long Beach .286 (70-30-140) to .240 (62-27-146) and also held a 48-32 advantage in digs.
The Gauchos held leads in all five games.
Game one was tied at 26-26 before LBSU rattled off three straight points to go up 29-26. Following a Long Beach service error, the Gauchos committed one of their own to give the set to the 49ers.
Game two was close throughout and featured 16 tie scores. Down 28-27, the 49ers would again go on a three-point run and win the game.
The Gauchos led by as many as seven points in game three. They hit a match high .444 (21-5-36) in the set. LBSU was stubborn and came back to knot the game at 28 apiece. Matt Thobe came up with a big kill and a hitting error by the 49ers gave UCSB the 30-28 win and the momentum.
Game four saw UCSB jump out 14-8 and 26-19 leads before finally winning 30-25. Long Beach hit just .167 (11-6-30) in the game.
The Gauchos conclude their season long four match road swing March 5 at Cal State Northridge (7 p.m.).
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