UCSB Drops First Game of Long Beach Tournament to Penn State
March 11, 2011
Long Beach, Ca. - The Gauchos played their first non-conference match since Jan. 8 on Friday night, but they were unable to replicate the relative success they have had against the MPSF against Penn State, falling 3-1 with game scores of 17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22. The loss brought the Gauchos record to 11-9 overall and 9-7 in conference play.
Despite having two rough matches in a row against CSUN and Long Beach State, senior outside Cullen Irons was the star of the game for the Gauchos. After recording hitting percentages of -.077 and .100 in his last two matches, Irons had an astronomical .545 hitting percentage on Friday night, second only to teammate Blaine Nielsen's .571 percentage among eligible hitters. Cullen recorded 15 kills on 22 attacks with only three errors. He also led the team with nine digs, a season high for him.
The Gauchos also received strong matches from senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who had 14 kills and four digs, and junior outside hitter Blaine Nielsen, who took advantage of the most playing time he has received in a match this season. Playing in three sets, Blaine recorded season highs in kills, with eight, and hitting percentage, swinging at a match-high .571 clip.
The Gauchos finish up the Long Beach Active Ankle Tournament tomorrow evening before taking a week off to tackle finals.
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