SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Having finished second-place in the NCAA tournament this past April, one would think that UC Santa Barbara stars Jeff Menzel and Dylan Davis would be content to take some well-deserved R&R. Not so for the pair of Gauchos, as both were selected to represent the USA in international play over the summer.
Menzel, who ranks third all-time in kills at UCSB, is starting at outside hitter for Team USA at the World University Games held in Shenzhen, China. In his first game on August 12, Menzel led his team to a straight set win over Team Mexico on the strength of 15 kills and a percentage of .407, tops among all players. Menzel is lining up on the floor against other phenoms such as opposite Murphy Troy, who earned the AVCA National Player of the Year award for his work at USC this past season. The U.S. will be looking to medal for the first time since 2007, when they captured the bronze in Thailand.
Dylan Davis, who will be the only returning starter for the Gauchos in 2012, was selected to the USA Men's Junior National Team (open to players aged 21 and under) that headed to Rio de Janeiro to participate in the FIVB Volleyball Men's Junior World Championship Brazil. Davis, who started at middle blocker, was a key cog on a team that finished the tournament in fourth place, the highest ever finish for the junior team. The team had previously never finished higher than seventh place in the 16 team tournament. The fourth place finish was disappointing for Team USA, whose stated goal was to bring a medal home. The Americans went 2-1 in each of the two preliminary rounds before losing to Argentina in the semifinals and Serbia in the bronze medal match.
While Davis' time representing is complete for the moment, Menzel and the rest of Team USA have four preliminary matches left before the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. To follow the rest of the action go here.