March 23, 2010

No. 10 UCSB Looks to Get Back On Track at No. 4 BYU this Weekend

March 23, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

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• The Schedule
Friday, March 26, 2010 at 6 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara at No. 4 Brigham Young University
at Smith Fieldhouse (5,000)
Series record vs. the Cougars - 18-26
Streak - Lost 1
2009 Series - Tied 1-1
Last time out vs. the Cougars - L, 3-2 (1/31/10)

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 6 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara at No. 4 Brigham Young University
at Smith Fieldhouse (5,000)

• Cougar Hunting
BYU has controlled much of the play in recent years against the Gauchos, having won eight of the last 10 contests. In 2009, UCSB won its first match against the Cougars since 2005, taking down BYU, 3-2, on January 30 at Rob Gym. Set scores were 27-30, 27-30, 30-27, 30-27, and 15-12. Jeff Menzel pounded a match-high 25 kills and Cullen Irons added a then career-best 16 as UC Santa Barbara came back from two sets down to upset BYU. The Cougars would rebound the next night, outlasting UCSB, 3-2, behind 26 kills and a .429 hitting percentage from opposite Mat Taylor. Scores were 29-31, 31-29, 15-30, 30-24, and 15-8 in favor of the Cougars as the teams split the season series. Before their win on Jan. 30, 2009, the Gauchos had dropped their six previous matches against BYU, their last win coming in the form of a 3-2 victory over the Cougars in the MPSF Quarterfinals on April 23, 2005. Senior Adam Ulfers paced a balanced attack with 19 kills and a .552 hitting percentage and sophomore Evan Patak added 18 kills and four blocks in the Gauchos' 30-25, 30-21, 29-31, 23-30, and 15-13 win. UCSB would go on to be swept by Pepperdine, 3-0, in the 2005 MPSF Semifinals.

• You See Davis
Freshman middle blocker Dylan Davis provided a rare bright spot for the Gauchos during their two matches two weeks ago, as the Newport Beach, Calif. native racked-up a career-high nine blocks in UCSB's 3-2 loss to Pepperdine on Mar. 13. He also hit .333 in the match, converting on four of nine attack attempts with only a pair of errors. Davis has started 11 matches so far this season and has led his team in blocks in four contests. His nine blocks against the Waves is the most a Gaucho has recorded this season.

• Slaught Machine
Although the Gauchos have dropped their last three matches, junior middle blocker Scott Slaughter is doing his best to keep the Gauchos afloat. In the Gauchos' 3-1 loss at USC on Mar. 5, Slaughter tallied a season-high 14 kills on 23 attempts, hitting .522 while adding six block assists. Against Cal State Northridge on Mar. 10, Slaughter hit .467 (10-3-15) and had 11.0 total points. Three days later against Pepperdine, Slaughter once again matched his season-high for kills, connecting on 14 of 23 attempts with only four errors (.435). He currently ranks fifth in the nation with a .472 total hitting percentage, connecting at a rate higher than his .413 career average coming into this season.

• Beware of `13'
Junior libero Andy McGuire better watch his luck, as he has been attracting the unlucky number 13 lately. McGuire, who currently ranks 13th-best in the country in digs per set with a 2.74 average, scooped 13 digs in each of the Gauchos losses two weeks ago against CSUN (3/10) and Pepperdine (3/13). As a matter of fact, McGuire has logged 13 digs on five separate occasions this season. Interestingly enough, UCSB is 0-5 in those matches.

• Pride vs. Pepperdine Wave-er-ing
The Gauchos dropped their second five-set match of the season to Pepperdine on March 13, falling to the Waves, 30-17, 28-20, 28-30, 30-25, and 15-7 at Firestone Fieldhouse. Jeff Menzel's 21 kills came on 54 swings, but he also had 18 errors for a .056 hitting percentage. Two other Gauchos joined Menzel with 10 or more kills as Scott Slaughter had 14 and Jake Rosener had 11. Libero Andy McGuire posted a match-high 13 digs and freshman Dylan Davis totaled a career-high nine blocks. The Waves, however, held the Gauchos to a .167 (64-38-156) attack percentage on the night. Tyler Jaynes was relentless at the net with 13 blocks while Maurice Torres added 10. Torres collected a triple-double as he had 16 kills and 10 digs to go along with his double-digit block total. UCSB also fell, 3-2, to Pepperdine on Feb. 3 at Rob Gym. Set scores were 23-30, 26-30, 30-22, 30-28, and 15-13 in favor of the Waves. Pepperdine has overtaken UCSB in the teams' last 10 contests.

• Watch Where You Sweep
The Gauchos suffered their first sweep of the season on March 10 against Cal State Northridge, falling to the Matadors in straight sets, 30-26, 31-29, and 30-25 at Rob Gym. Todd Travis swung at a .467 rate for UCSB, entering the match in the third set before adding six kills, two digs and a block. Jeff Menzel tallied 15 kills, but hit .111 in the loss. Scott Slaughter followed with 10 kills on 15 attempts (.467). Libero Andy McGuire scooped a match-high 13 digs. For CSUN, John Baker led the Matadors with 13 kills, followed by Kevin McKniff's eight kills. McKniff and Mike Gaudino both hit .500 on the night. Northridge managed a .287 team hitting percentage, slightly better than UCSB. The last time UCSB had been swept was on April 17, 2009, when the Gauchos fell to the Matadors, 3-0, to close out the season.

• Tickets For All Matches This Season Are Available
Tickets for all matches this season are available by calling 805.893.UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or buy online and print at home. The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Can't Make it to the Court?
UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online for no charge with Gametracker. Log on to UCSBgauchos.com, go to the men's volleyball schedule, and click on the Gametracker link for the match you're interested in. You can follow each point and see player statistics and bios.

• BE Great
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.