May 2, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel has been named UCSBgauchos.com Athlete of the Week for the second straight week after he led UCSB to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship and the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 1988. Menzel was named the tournament MVP.
Menzel, a First Team All-American and All-MPSF choice, collected a season-high 27 kills as the Gauchos knocked-off second-seeded BYU in the first round of the tournament last week, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 26-24, 25-22). The Santa Barbara native hit. .373 and added a match-hight eight digs. BYU entered the contest having won seven in a row.
On Thursday night, in a semifinal match at USC's Galen Center against sixth-seeded Long Beach State, the Santa Barbara native had 23 kills, seven digs and four block assists while leading the Gauchos to another 3-1 win (25-17, 26-28, 25-20, 25-23).
In the championship match against top-seeded and No. 1 ranked USC, Menzel was at his best. He registered a season-high 28 kills and hit .396. Overall, in the three matches, he had 78 kills and UCSB had its first NCAA Final Four appearance in 23 years.
The fourth-seeded Gauchos will play top-seeded USC for the second straight match when the two square-off in the NCAA Semifinals on Thursday, May 5. The match will start at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) at Penn State's Rec Hall in University Park, Penn. The winner of that match will take-on the winner of the Penn State-Ohio State showdown which will begin at approximately 6:00 p.m. (PDT).