Feb. 9, 2011
UCSB began a home-and-home series with the UCLA Bruins on Wednesday night, and could not have hoped for a better opening result. The Gauchos defeated the Bruins 3-1, with game scores of 25-11, 25-23, 18-25, 27-25. The win improved the Gauchos record to 7-5, with a 5-4 MPSF mark. The Bruins dropped to 7-6, 2-5 MPSF.
The Gauchos win, their first regular season victory at Pauley Pavillion since 2002, came on the back of their consistent hitting game, as the team hit a robust .409 for the match. Senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel paced all players with his 17 kills, while senior outside hitter Trey Valbuena and senior opposite Cullen Irons contributed 10 apiece- Valbuena has reached double digit kills in 2 of his last 3 matches. The match represented Irons' lowest kill output since Jan. 18, though he has reached the double-digit plateau in six straight games. Menzel matched his season highs in digs and aces, with six and two respectively.
UCSB also received a strong game at the net from sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis and senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter, who had four and five blocks respectively. Matching Slaughter's match-high five blocks was an unusual suspect, senior setter Vince Devany, who set a season high with the night's output. Devany also dished out 44 assists on the night.
The Bruins were led by Kyle Caldwell, who had 16 kills and a match-high 4 service aces. However, he and Nick Vogel teamed up for 11 of the Bruins' 22 service errors- the Gauchos recorded only nine. The Bruins have lost their past four matches overall and also their last four matches against the Gauchos, dating back to this preseason.
The Gauchos look for the regular season sweep of UCLA on Friday night at Rob Gym, where the two teams will complete the back end of their home-and-home series.
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