April 16, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The No. 9 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team kept its MPSF playoff dreams alive with a 3-0 sweep of No. 5 Hawaii Friday night at Rob Gym. Set scores were 30-27, 30-25, and 30-28 in favor of the Gauchos.
Coming into the night, the Gauchos trailed UC Irvine by one game for eighth place in the MPSF playoffs. Needing to keep pace with the Anteaters, the Gauchos did just that, limiting the Warriors to a .232 team hitting percentage, while hitting .336 themselves. UC Irvine easily handled last-place Pacific Friday night, but faces top-ranked Stanford in what is easily the most critical night of the MPSF regular season.
The table is set for Saturday - a UCSB win over Hawaii and a UCI loss to Stanford will send the Gauchos to the MPSF Tournament.
"Tonight was a huge win for us in that it keeps us in contention for tomorrow night," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin.
Freshman Dylan Davis hit .769 for the Gauchos, connecting on 10 kills in 13 attempts with no errors. Fellow middle blocker Scott Slaughter hit .556 on the night, failing to notch an error (5-0-9). Todd Travis tallied 14 kills and seven digs at the opposite hitter position, while Jeff Menzel led all Gauchos with 16 kills and 17.0 total points. Vince Devany dished out 46 assists and scooped a team high 11 digs.
The Gauchos trailed throughout much of the first set, but a kill and a block on the following play by Davis gave UCSB a 14-13 lead. UCSB eventually stretched its lead to 22-18 after three consecutive hitting errors by the Warriors. The teams would trade points until a kill from Hawaii's Steven Grgas and a hitting error by Blaine Nielsen made it 29-27 UCSB. After a Gaucho timeout, Warrior Thomas Umlauft would send his next attempt into press row, giving UCSB a 1-0 lead. Davis hit 1.000 (4-0-4) and Menzel hit .667 (6-0-9) as the Gauchos combined for only three errors in the set.
UCSB would lead by five early in the second frame, but Hawaii would rally to catch the Gauchos at 10-10. UCSB would go up by three shortly, riding kills from Menzel and Davis along with a Slaughter ace to make it 14-11. From there, the Gauchos would go on runs of three and four points, making it 21-14. Hawaii got within four, but a pair of blocks from Travis and Slaughter combined with a pair of Warrior swing errors kept the margin at seven, 25-18. Up by four at 28-24, Davis and Travis combined for a block before Davis and Nielsen added another, ending the set, 30-25, in favor of UCSB.
While the teams combined to hit .438 in the first set, the squads mustered just a .110 clip in the second set. The Gauchos made up for their poor hitting by out-blocking the Warriors, 5-4, in the set.
Trailing by three early in the third set, a kill by Davis, an ace by Menzel, and a pair of kills from Travis would give the Gauchos their first lead at 9-8. Tied 11-11, Travis notched his fourth kill in as many attempts in the frame and Hawaii added a pair of errors to give UCSB a 14-11 lead. UCSB held that lead until Hawaii secured three consecutive kills from Joshua Walker, Matt Rawson, and Umlauft, forcing a Santa Barbara timeout at 21-21. Consecutive errors by Hawaii would give the Gauchos a 25-23 lead, forcing the Warriors into a timeout. Hawaii would take three of the next four points, tying the match, but another kill from Travis and an error by Umlauft inflated the Gaucho lead back to two, 28-26. After a service error by UCSB, Menzel notched a kill before Umlauft answered, making it 29-28. However, Walker could not find the spot on his next serve, giving the Gauchos the match, 30-28.
UCSB will close out its regular season tomorrow night, as the Gauchos once again take on Hawaii at 7 p.m. in Rob Gym. Seniors Jake Rosener and Sam Moisenco will be honored prior to the match for their dedication to the Gaucho program.
Tickets for Saturday's match are available by calling 805.893.UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or by purchasing online and printing at home. Tickets will also be on sale at the Rob Gym entrance starting one hour prior to the match. The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In 2009, UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity and social awareness, and ensuring academic success.