Matadors Overpower UCSB in Five Sets, Gauchos Remain One Spot Out of MPSF Playoffs

April 7, 2010

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Trailing Long Beach State by one-half game for eighth place in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, a 49er loss to UC Irvine and a Gaucho win over Cal State Northridge would slide UCSB into that eighth spot, giving it inside position for a final ticket to the MPSF postseason tournament.

UC Irvine beat the 49ers in four sets, giving the Gauchos life. However, UCSB would be unable to keep up its end of the bargain.

The No. 11 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team took down the first set, but had no answer for No.4 CSUN and Jason Ratacjzak's 14 kills, .700 hitting percentage, and 10 blocks, who's impressive performance was enough to give the Matadors a 3-2 victory Wednesday night at the Matadome. Set scores were 27-30, 30-26, 30-20, 28-30, 15-12 in favor of Northridge.

With the loss, UCSB drops to 11-15 overall and 8-12 in MPSF play, while Northridge improves to 19-7 overall and 14-6 in the MPSF. CSUN already has punched its ticket to the MPSF tournament. UCSB remains one-half game back of a playoff spot with two conference matches remaining.

Jeff Menzel connected with 14 kills and Cullen Irons added 11 kills, as twelve different UCSB players saw playing time in the match. Scott Slaughter hit .537, adding five blocks and four digs. Blaine Nielsen contributed nine kills and four digs. Vince Devany dished-out 46 assists while libero Andy McGuire scooped 15 digs.

In addition to Ratajczak, four other Matadors finished with double digit kill totals, led by Theo Edwards' 19. John Baker followed with 18 kills and seven digs. Mike Gaudino notched 15 kills while hitting .303 and Kevin McKniff scored hit .385 with 14 kills. Matt Stork had 72 assists on the night.

UCSB took down the first set, 30-27, out-hitting the Matadors .375 (17-5-32) to .324 (16-5-24), Tied 26-26, a service error by Edwards and block from Grant Goswiller and Slaughter gave the Gauchos a two-point advantage. Goswiller's next attempt was blocked, but another CSUN serving error and a kill from Cullen Irons gave UCSB a 1-0 lead.

The Gauchos trailed by two points three times in the fifth and final frame, but battled back to tie the score at 10-10. After a CSUN timeout, Rosener gave UCSB its first lead of the set, finishing Menzel's pass down the line. The Matadors would retake the lead with a kill by Ratajczak followed by blocks from Edwards, Stork, and Ratajczak on consecutive plays, making it 13-11 in CSUN's favor. After a service error by John Baker gave the Gauchos' life, it was Ratajczak who finally put UCSB away with a pair of kills to end the match, 15-12.

UCSB's next match is a non-conference match-up at home, Friday, April 7th at 7 p.m. in Rob Gym vs. Penn State.