March 24, 2011
Riverside, Calif. - Starting with the Long Beach Active Ankle Tournament that started two weeks ago, the No. 6 Gauchos have had the opportunity to match up against nationally ranked teams outside the MPSF, something UCSB has not done all year. However, that three-match stretch has not gone as planned for the Gauchos, who have lost two of their last three matches following a straight-set defeat by the Cal Baptist Lancers on Thursday night. Game scores for the match were 25-17, 25-20, 25-19. Overall, the Gauchos have dropped four of their last six, and now sit at 12-10 with a 9-7 conference record. With the win, Cal Baptist improves to 20-5.
For the second time this season, eleven UCSB players entered the match at one point or another. That marks the most players UCSB Head Coach Rick McLaughlin has used in a match so far this season. Absent from the lineup were mainstays Vince Devany, Cullen Irons, and Dylan Davis, while lesser-used players like sophomore setter Oliver Deutschman and senior middle blocker Wyatt Thomson got to see time on the floor.
In fact, Deutschman thrived in his first start of the season, setting a new career high with 25 assists. Freshman setter Chad Kingi, who started for the Gauchos at the libero position, had a match and career high seven digs. Senior outside hitter Todd Travis had six kills with an ace, while junior outside hitter Blaine Nielsen chipped in five more kills to go along with his ace.
Senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel finished the night with 10 kills on a .500 hitting percentage to keep his double-digit kills streak alive. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills in 14 straight matches, and 19 of 22 overall.
The Lancers were led by Levi Cabral and Sebastien Steigmeier, who had 11 kills apiece. Cabral had a .667 hitting percentage to go along with five digs. Cal Baptist hit .493 as a team.
On the other end, UCSB hit only .188 as a team, and only recorded a single block on the night, by sophomore outside hitter Grant Goswiller.
Looking forward, the beginning of Spring Quarter also marks the beginning of the stretch run for the Gauchos. With a 9-7 conference record, the Gauchos sit tied at fifth with UC Irvine in the MPSF standings. Though it is unlikely they will drop out of the top 8 (9th place Pepperdine has a 4-11 record), the final six regular season games figure to be paramount in how the conference standings shake out. The middle of the conference is packed with parity- 3rd place BYU and 7th place Long Beach State are seperated by just 1.5 games. Thus every match is a big match the rest of the way for UCSB.
The Gauchos will host UC San Diego on Thursday, Mar. 31, and UC Irvine on Friday, Apr. 1- both matches at Rob Gym.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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.