Nov. 30, 2010
LOS ANGELES - UC Santa Barbara won all three matches in its final preseason tournament of the season, defeating Cal State Northridge, USC, and UCLA en route to the championship at the annual UCLA SAC Tournament.
The Gauchos relied on the strong play of senior outside hitter Cullen Irons to fell Cal State Northridge in their only Day 1 game by a score of 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 15-8).
UCSB and their second opponent, USC, both installed younger lineups for their Day 2 tilt. The Gauchos prevailed by a score of 3-1 (25-27, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17). After dropping the first set, the Gauchos rallied to claim the final three sets and ensure at least a share of the tournament championship.
In their final game, the Gauchos bested tournament host UCLA in a tight match by a score of 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 21-19). Irons, whom had another strong match, welcomed the solid play of two fellow seniors: middle blocker Scott Slaughter and libero Andy McGuire.
UCSB's third win in as many matches clinched the tournament title, as they were the only team to go unbeaten.
The Gauchos open up the 2011 calendar year with an exhibition match against Laval University of Canada on Jan. 4 at Robertson Gym. The Gauchos then host the UCSB Invitational tournament on Jan. 7-8 before opening conference play on the road at UC San Diego on Jan. 14.