No. 9 Gauchos Blanked at No. 8 UCLA
Jan. 16, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Despite another solid offensive outing by Jeff Menzel, the ninth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team will have to wait at least a week to pick up its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) victory as it was swept in three sets at No. 8 UCLA Friday. Scores went 33-31, 30-28, and 30-28 in front of 701 fans at Pauley Pavilion.
As he's done in all five of UCSB's (2-3, 0-2 MPSF) matches this season, Menzel, a sophomore outside hitter, posted a team-high in the kills department, this time with 24. His 24 put-aways, which was also a match-best, came with just six errors in a tiring 43 swings, good for a season-high .419 attack percentage.
The Gauchos held advantages in several statistical categories, including attack percentage (.350 to .347), digs (31 to 29), and blocks (7.5 to 7.0). Kills were even (50), as were assists (48). However, Santa Barbara once again had problems from the service line, giving up 21 points on errors. In three of their five matches, the Gauchos have recorded 20 or more gaffes from the line.
UCLA (2-3, 1-1), which dropped from No. 2 to No. 8 in this week's national poll, was paced by Garrett Muagututia and Brett Perrine, who had 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Muagututia hit .414 (14-2-29) and posted a match-high 10 digs.
UCSB got strong hitting out of outside Blaine Nielsen (.667, 7-1-9) and middle Scott Slaughter (.545, 6-0-11). Outside Mike Runkle and libero Andy McGuire each tallied eight digs and middle Sam Moisenco had five blocks.
For Menzel, it was the fourth time this season he's slammed 20 or more kills. With 226 total attacks, he by far leads the team in swings as the next Gaucho on the list is opposite Jake Rosener with 135.
The match was the 142nd meeting between the two rivals. The Bruins hold a commanding 113-29 lead in the series and have won the last two match-ups. The Gauchos will try to salvage a season split when they host the Bruins at Robertson Gymnasium on Friday, Mar. 13.
UCSB is off until next Friday, Jan. 23 when it travels to Cal State Northridge for another MPSF match. The Matadors recently won UCSB's 45th Annual Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational and are ranked fifth in this week's poll.
**UCSB - a nationally recognized university in both academic and athletic excellence - is located on the central coast of California in a picturesque campus and community setting on the Pacific Ocean. Each year over 450 Division 1 Gaucho student-athletes compete for national championships, succeed in the classroom, and give back to the community.**
- UCSBgauchos.com -