Feb. 17, 2011
The Gauchos came up short after winning the first set in convincing fashion on Thursday night, falling to the BYU Cougars 3-1, with game scores of 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20. The loss put an end to UCSB's three-game winning streak, bringing their record to 8-6, 6-5 in MPSF play. BYU's victory improved their record to 11-3 overall, 7-2 MPSF.
At the onset of the match, it looked like the Gauchos were on their way to stopping their four-match losing streak against the Cougars. Senior opposite Cullen Irons had six of his 14 kills in the first game, while senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel recorded five of his 17 kills in the same frame- Menzel also had a perfect hitting percentage for the game. UCSB withstood a pair of Taylor Sander aces, and held BYU to a .077 hitting percentage for the first set. Conversely, the Gauchos swung at a robust .684 clip, including only one error.
The second set was not as kind to the Gauchos. BYU's Taylor Sander recorded six of his 17 kills in the frame. The Cougars also recorded 5.5 team blocks in the set- they finished the night with 12.5 blocks as a team, led by Futi Tavana's six block assists. Jeff Menzel recorded four of his season-high nine blocks, but a late Gaucho comeback fell short after a service error from freshman middle blocker Evan Licht.
The night only got worse for the Gauchos, who lost senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter for part of the third set after landing awkwardly on his ankle while attempting to make a play at the net. Slaughter would return for the fourth set, and Head Coach Rick McLaughlin stresses that Slaughter is "ready to go" for Friday's match against BYU. The Gauchos eventually dropped the final two sets by identical scores of 25-20. Senior setter Vince Devany eclipsed the 500 assist mark for the third time in his career, as he now sits at 538 assists for the year following his 41 assist output tonight.
When asked what needed to change for the Gauchos, McLaughlin said "we just need to be better. I think we lost our focus out there tonight."
UCSB goes right back to work tomorrow night, finishing up a back-to-back series against BYU. The match will be played at the Thunderdome- not Rob Gym- and the start time has been pushed back to 7:30.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.
A donation to the Gaucho Fund - regardless of the sport it supports - will be part of the One Donation is Gold system. This allows donors to purchase priority/premium seating and parking at UCSB games across several sports in addition to other benefits.
Launched in January of 2009, the BE Great initiative 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. UCSB boasts an 83% student-athlete graduation rate.