Gauchos Fall to UC Irvine Despite Spectacular Night from Menzel
April 1, 2011
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Coming off a playoff clinching win against UC San Diego on Thursday night, Gaucho morale was high entering Friday night's match against MPSF foe UC Irvine. However, the Gauchos ended up on the short end of the match, falling to the Anteaters by a score of 3-1 (27-29, 25-18, 25-19, 25-14). This was all despite a career night from senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who recorded a season-high 24 kills on the night, and a dramatic first-set win that ended up being the high point for the Gauchos, who would go on to drop three straight games. The loss dropped UCSB to a 13-11 record, 10-8 in the MPSF. With the win, UC Irvine leapfrogs the Gauchos for fifth place in the conference with an 11-8 conference record, 15-11 overall.
The first game of the match was about as equal as two teams can play each other: there were 24 ties and 10 lead changes in the game. It seemed like every glance at the scoreboard revealed a tie game. UC Irvine led as late as 27-26, but a Jeff Menzel service ace and an emphatic, game-clinching kill from Cullen Irons highlighted a three point, "from behind" rally by the Gauchos. Menzel had an especially impressive set, recording nine of his eventual 24 kills in the game. Sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis chipped in four blocks for the game.
It was all downhill from there for the Gauchos, as the Anteaters dominated the second game. UC Irvine held the lead at all points of the frame. The UC Irvine offense was epitomized by a pair of aces from Carson Clark, who chipped in four of his 19 kills in the second set.
The third set saw more of the same for the Gauchos, as UCSB managed to hit just .167 as a team for the frame. In contrast, the Anteaters hit a sky-high .435 for the set and .390 for the match. Menzel and senior libero Andy McGuire provided much needed effort for the Gauchos: Menzel reached his season high for kills in the game when his sixth kill of the game gave him 19 kills, eclipsing his old season-high of 18, while McGuire came through with five of his match-high 14 digs in the game. Senior opposite Cullen Irons recorded four kills for the third consecutive set, he finished with 13.
The clinching fourth set saw the Gauchos muster only 14 points for the game. Menzel was still able to rack up five more kills, finishing the night with 24. Menzel also finished with eight digs, just one of his season-high of nine. The Gauchos' team hitting percentage dropped each game from the first set onward- a respectable first game clip of .345 became just .143 in the fourth set.
Next week, the Gauchos play host to MPSF rivals from the north- Pacific and Stanford. The match against Stanford on Friday night will be the last regular season home match for much of the Gauchos' squad.
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.