March 31, 2011
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Entering Thursday night's match against No. 12 UC San Diego, the eight-ranked Gauchos needed just one win in their final six matches to secure a spot in the MPSF postseason tournament. UCSB did not waste any time at all, dropping the Tritons in straight sets to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, when they advanced all the way to the semifinals before falling to top-ranked Pepperdine. Game scores for tonights match were 25-17, 25-19, 25-17. With the win, the Gauchos improved to an overall record of 13-10 with a 10-7 conference record. The Gauchos are now 8-2 in matches following a loss. UC San Diego dropped to 8-17, with a 4-14 conference record.
Since UCSB has not reached the postseason since 2007, the playoff berth was the first for practically everyone involved in the program. "It's been the goal since day one," said Head Coach Rick McLaughlin, who came within one game of reaching the playoffs last year in his second season as head coach. "To miss out on the playoffs by one game last year made us want it that much more." The players echoed McLaughlin's sentiments, as senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel said "we should have been there the last three years, but it's good to be there this year."
The match itself was probably not even as close as the scores would indicate, as UC San Diego struggled without senior setter Phil Bannan, their leader in both assists and service aces. The Gauchos spread out their attack over the match, as three Gauchos finished tied for the team lead with seven: senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel, sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis, and senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter.
For the match, the Gauchos held the Tritons to a lowly .075 hitting percentage, including a team-high .182 clip on 8 kills from Shane Veiga.
UCSB won the first set on the back of two long service rallies from senior oposite Cullen Irons. Though he recorded just a single ace on the night, Irons made it difficult for the Tritons to pass his serves to setter Mike Brunsting. UCSD hit just .034 as a team for the set, while UCSB also received strong games from Slaughter, who recorded three of his four blocks in the first frame, and senior libero Andy McGuire, who accumulated four of his nine total digs in the first set.
In the second set, the game became a little more fluid, as both teams recorded their highest hitting percentages in the second set- UC San Diego at .350 and UCSB at .579. That .579 clip from UCSB also included an 89% conversion rate on sideout points. Dylan Davis had five of his seven kills in the second game, while senior setter Vince Devany had 14 of his 37 assists in the second set.
The third set was all the Gauchos, as they never once relinquished the lead they established on the first point. Senior outside hitter, who came in to relieve Irons, recorded six kills in the set, the highest amount of kills recorded in a single set by any player in the match. Freshman middle blocker Evan Licht chipped in another four in the decisive set.
Though he did not have a poor match by any means, Jeff Menzel had a season-low seven kills- which broke a streak of 14 straight matches in which he reached double digit kills. "I'm not worried about the kills," said Jeff, "we played well as a team and we got the win, which is all that matters." The match was also just the second time all season that the Gauchos have failed to have any player reach 10 or more kills, the other time at Long Beach State on Jan. 18.
The Gauchos turn to host UC Irvine on Friday night, Apr. 1. UCSB lies just a half game ahead of UC Irvine for fourth place, and home court advantage in the first round of the MPSF playoffs, in the conference standings.
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.
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Gaucho Fund, launched as part of the Dare to Be Great strategic plan, is UCSB Athletics' annual giving program to provide vital funding support for scholarships, academic success and leadership development for Gaucho student-athletes. The Gaucho Fund is the anchor to the Dare to Be Great campaign.
Gauchos Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Tritons
August 16, 2011 Menzel, Team USA Improve to 3-1 at World University Games
August 12, 2011 Menzel, Davis Represent USA in International Play
May 7, 2011 UCSB Unable to Capture NCAA Championship
May 5, 2011 Davis Leads Gauchos Over USC, Into NCAA Finals
May 3, 2011 Menzel Named AVCA Player of the Week
May 2, 2011 No. 3 Gauchos Head to NCAA Final Four
April 30, 2011 Gauchos Topple No. 1 USC, Capture MPSF Championship
April 29, 2011 Menzel, McGuire Named to AVCA All-American Team
April 29, 2011 No. 5 UCSB Reaches MPSF Championship Match, Take on USC
April 27, 2011 No. 5 UCSB Heads to Conference Final Four, Take on LBSU
April 22, 2011 No. 7 UCSB Heads to No. 2 BYU to Kick Off MPSF Tournament
April 21, 2011 Four Gauchos Earn All-MPSF Honors
April 16, 2011 UCSB Ends Regular Season With Loss Against No. 1 USC
April 14, 2011 Gauchos Upset by Pepperdine
April 8, 2011 Gauchos Stun No. 3 Stanford on Senior Night
April 7, 2011 No. 15 Pacific Upsets No. 6 Gauchos, 3-2
March 31, 2011 Gauchos Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Tritons
March 31, 2011 No. 8 UCSB Tries to Clinch a Playoff Spot Against UCI, UCSD
March 13, 2011 Gauchos Roll Over Lewis to Finish Up Active Ankle Tournament
March 11, 2011 UCSB Drops First Game of Long Beach Tournament to Penn State
March 4, 2011 Gauchos, Menzel Dominate CSUN
March 2, 2011 Gauchos Fall to Long Beach State
March 2, 2011 Men's Volleyball vs. LBSU Moved to Rec Cen
March 2, 2011 No. 4 Gauchos Return Home to Host Long Beach State, CSUN
February 27, 2011 UCSB Falls in Heartbreaker to Stanford
February 25, 2011 Gauchos Drop Pacific in Four
February 24, 2011 Gauchos Rise to Third in Rankings, Head North
February 18, 2011 UCSB Earns Split in BYU Series
February 17, 2011 Gauchos Fall to BYU in Four
February 16, 2011 Men's Volleyball Moves to T-Dome For This Weeks Matches
February 16, 2011 Gauchos Set for No. 2 BYU
February 11, 2011 Gauchos Top Bruins
February 9, 2011 Gauchos Top Bruins Behind Menzel's 17 Kills
February 8, 2011 Gauchos Prepare for Bruins
February 5, 2011 Gauchos Earn Split in Hawai'i Series
February 4, 2011 Gauchos Fall to Hawai'i
February 1, 2011 Gauchos Cross the Pacific, Battle Hawai'i
January 28, 2011 Gauchos Roll Over Waves, 3-0
January 28, 2011 Gauchos Look to Break Cold Streak Against Waves
January 26, 2011 No. 1 USC Pulls Away From No. 6 UCSB
January 25, 2011 No. 6 Gauchos Battle Top-Ranked USC on Wednesday at Robertson Gym
January 21, 2011 No. 5 Gauchos Blast Cal State Northridge, 3-0
January 19, 2011 Gauchos Continue Road Swing
January 18, 2011 Volleyball Drops Match At Long Beach State
January 15, 2011 UCSB Falls to UC Irvine in Straight Sets
January 14, 2011 Gauchos Sweep Tritons
January 13, 2011 Gauchos Kick Off 2011 Season
January 8, 2011 Gauchos Drop Final of Gaucho Collegiate Invitational
January 7, 2011 Gauchos Sweep Day One, Advance to Finals
January 5, 2011 UCSB Set to Host Gaucho Collegiate Invitational
January 4, 2011 Gauchos Win Tune-Up Match
January 3, 2011 Gauchos Ready to Roll
November 30, 2010 Gauchos Roll in Final Fall Tournament
August 20, 2010 U.S. Juniors Will Play for NORCECA Gold Saturday
August 18, 2010 U.S. Juniors Win Pool After Sweeping Mexico
August 17, 2010 U.S. Junior National Team Goes to 2-0 After Sweeping Martinique