April 17, 2010

Season Ends for Men's Volleyball After Loss Against Hawaii

April 17, 2010

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The ninth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team couldn't ride the momentum of Friday's sweeping upset over No. 5 Hawai'i and saw its season come to an end as the Warriors returned the favor Saturday night at Robertson Gymnasium.

Set scores were 33-31, 30-28, and 30-26 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match that lasted just under two hours in front of 633 fans.

UCSB (13-16, 9-13 MPSF) needed to win both ends of the double dip against Hawai'i (18-9, 14-8 MPSF) and hope for a UC Irvine loss against Stanford Saturday to qualify for its first MPSF Tournament since 2007. The loss against the Warriors proved deadly as the Anteaters did indeed fall to the Cardinal in five sets.

Hawai'i finished the night with a .365 (56-14-115) attack percentage to UCSB's .258 (52-20-124), drastically improving on its .232 (48-22-11) clip from Friday night.

"Hawai'i won the serve and pass game," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "We didn't serve as tough and we couldn't get them out of their system."

For the second straight night, Jeff Menzel led the Gauchos with 16 kills. The outside hitter added eight digs, four blocks, a pair of aces, and 20 total points to cap off a solid all-around performance. Todd Travis followed with 14 kills and just three errors in 34 swings (.324), while Scott Slaughter had his second consecutive errorless match with eight kills in 14 attacks (.571). Slaughter and Sam Moisenco each had four blocks playing in the middle. Setter Vince Devany tallied 41 assists and seven digs while putting away three kills on three attempts.

Hawai'i was again paced by Jonas Umlauft, who registered match highs with 22 kills and 22.5 points. Umlauft led all players in Friday's match with 21 kills and 25 points. Joshua Walker chipped in with 14 kills and Steven Grgas stuffed seven Gaucho attacks at the net. Setter Nejc Zemljak notched a double-double with 47 assists and 11 digs and libero Ric Cervantes, a Santa Barbara native, posted a match best 14 digs.

The opening set was tight all the way as UCSB had its highest hitting percentage of the night (.267). Tied at 17-17, the Gauchos ran off three straight points on a Travis kill, a block by Dylan Davis and Menzel, and a Warrior attack error. Hawai'i battled back and the two squads traded the lead back and forth until a service error and a kill by Menzel put the Gauchos up 31-30. The Warriors reeled off the next three points on an Umlauft kill and two Santa Barbara hitting miscues to take the 33-31 win. The set featured 18 tie scores and eight lead changes.

Hawai'i jumped out to a 4-0 led to start the second frame and held a sizable advantage until late. Down 29-25, the Gauchos came back to within one on three plays involving Blaine Nielsen. The outside hitter dropped in a kill and an ace and was serving when Slaughter and Devany combined on a block to make the score 29-28. However, Umlauft came up big again with a booming kill to put the set away. The Warriors hit .455 in the set, their highest of the match.

With 11 ties and four lead changes, the third set was much more competitive than the second all the way through. At 9-9, a handling error by Hawai'i gave UCSB a lead that it would hold until a Gaucho attack error evened up the set at 20-20. Umlauft floored a ball to give the Warriors a 23-22 advantage, a lead that Hawai'i would not relinquish the rest of the way.

"They (Hawai'i) played the bigger points better," said McLaughlin.

Hawai'i earned the fourth seed in the MPSF Tournament and will host fifth-seeded Pepperdine in the quarterfinals on April 24. In other matches, No. 1 Stanford will host No. 8 UC Irvine, No. 2 BYU will host No. 7 UCLA, and No. 3 Cal State Northridge will entertain sixth-seeded USC.

Saturday's match was the final career action for seniors Moisenco and Jake Rosener, who were honored prior to the start.