March 28, 2008
PROVO, Utah - In a near upset, the 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team took No. 4 Brigham Young to five games Friday but ended up losing as the Cougars hit over .550 in the fifth and deciding set. Scores of the match, held in front of 2,060 fans at Smith Fieldhouse, were 25-30, 30-25, 29-31, 30-24, and 15-11 in favor of BYU.
UCSB dropped to 9-13 overall and 6-11 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, while BYU improved to 18-4 and 13-4.
Outside hitter Ivan Perez proved to be too much for the Gaucho defense to handle as he led all players with 27 kills on 45 sets. He completed his eighth double-double of the season with a team-high 12 digs.
Four Cougars had at least 14 kills on the night.
BYU hit .330 for the match to UCSB's .245. The Cougars totaled 84 kills and the Gauchos had 63, while Santa Barbara found itself out-blocked 12 to 6.5.
The Gauchos got a stellar match out of junior outside hitter Mike Runkle, who registered his third double-double of the year with 15 kills and a match-high 14 digs. Runkle set a new personal best for digs and tied his career-high in kills. He also hit a team-best .480.
Opposite Jeff Menzel dropped in a team-high 19 kills while adding four digs and three blocks. However, Menzel hit just .088 with 14 errors in 57 attacks. Middle blocker Theo Brunner finished with 14 kills and outside Phil Mathew amassed a career-high 13 digs.
UCSB came out of the gate strong and hit a solid .485 en route to the 30-25 win. BYU turned it around in game two, hitting over .300 while the Gauchos struggled and finished at .000. The Cougars had four blocks in the game. The third set was tied at 29-29 before a pair of BYU attack errors gave UCSB the 31-29 victory.
BYU really stepped up its offense in games four and five, hitting .441 and .556, respectively. In the fifth set, BYU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never lost its lead. UCSB would never get closer than two points and a Jonathan Charette kill ended the match.
Charette finished with 16 kills, Trent Sorensen had 15, and Russell Holmes totaled 14. Holmes, who leads the nation in blocks, had a match-high six. Four Cougars hit over .400 on the night.
The Cougars had lost their previous three matches coming into tonight as Long Beach State took a pair from them at Walter Pyramid and UCLA won the second of a two-match set at Pauley Pavilion.
BYU has now won the past five meetings against UCSB. The last time the Gauchos topped the Cougars was in April of 2005.
The two squads will meet again Saturday at 6 p.m. (PT) in Provo. A live video feed of the match and Gametracker live stats will be available at BYUCougars.com.
-- www.UCSBGauchos.com --