No. 4 Gauchos Return Home to Host Long Beach State, CSUN
March 2, 2011
Admission to Wednesday's match at UCSB's Rec Center is free for all spectators.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7 p.m. at UCSB's Rec Center
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (10-7, 8-6)
vs No. 6 Long Beach State (8-6, 7-4)
Series record vs. the 49ers- 45-38
Streak- Lost 1
2010 Series- Tied 1-1
2011 Series- LBSU 1-0
Last time out vs. the 49ers- L, 3-0
Friday, March 4, 2011 at 7 p.m. at Rob Gym
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (10-7, 8-6) vs CSUN (4-12, 3-8)
Series record vs. the Matadors- 44-36
Streak- Won 2
2010 Series- CSUN 3-0
2011 Series- UCSB 2-0
Last time out vs. the Matadors- W, 3-0
Due to the weather, the Mar. 2 match against Long Beach State has been moved from Rob Gym to UCSB's Rec Center. Game time is still set for 7 p.m.
Can't Make it to the Court?
UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online for no charge with Gametracker. Log on to UCSBgauchos.com, go to the men's volleyball schedule, and click on the Gametracker link for the match you're interested in. You can follow each point and see player statistics and bios.
The Week in Review
After splitting a pair of home matches against the second-ranked BYU Cougars, the Gauchos hit the road to take on Pacific and Stanford. On Friday night, the Gauchos took down the Tigers in four sets despite not having their "A-game" as a team. Only senior middle blocker (.500) and senior outside hitter Trey Valbuena (.333) finished with hitting percentages over .280. Senior opposite Cullen Irons led the match with his 18 kills. On Saturday night, the Gauchos fell to the defending national champions, Stanford, despite claiming the first two sets. Senior outside hitter led the Gauchos with 16 kills, while Irons finished with 15. However, the Cardinals outblocked UCSB 12.0 to 6.5, and Brad Lawson's 25 kills represents the highest total allowed by the Gauchos against a single player for the entire year.. The Gauchos and the Cardinals ended up trading spots in the national rankings, as UCSB dropped to fourth while Stanford ascended to the No. 3 spot.
For all the ups and down the Gauchos have endured this season, one place they have found consistency is in the first game of the match. UCSB has won 76% of the opening sets they've played up to now, compared to a 51% winning percentage for all other games. On aggregate, the Gauchos have beat opponents 407-336 this season.
The Gauchos boast one of the top attacking duos in the country in seniors Jeff Menzel and Cullen Irons. Both find themselves in the top 10 in the MPSF in kills per set. Menzel, an outside hitter, has 329 kills on the campaign with a 3.83 kill per set average.. Irons, an opposite, has compiled 332 kills with a 3.93 kill per set average, both of which are tops on the team.
Climbing the Rankings
UCSB currently finds itself ranked fourth in the AVCA coaches poll following a 5-2 run over the last 7 matches, including a sweep of UCLA and a win against No. 2 BYU. Last week, the Gauchos were ranked third, the highest for the Gauchos since 2007, when they were also ranked third.
Senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter has been one of the most consistent Gaucho players thus far. Despite mildly turning his ankle against BYU, Scott still managed to post hitting percentages of .333 and .833 for the two matches. Scott now tops the entire conference in hitting percentage, with a .490 overall clip. Scott is third on the team in kills (with 118) and service aces (10). Slaughter now also leads the Gauchos in blocks with 57 for the campaign.
Devany Dishing it Out
This past week, senior setter Vince Devany passed the 500 assist mark for the third time in his UCSB career. He has reached 489 assists in all four of his years as a Gaucho. Devany's 672 assists lead the MPSF, and his 11.38 assist per game average place him second. Vince has a prime opportunity to become the career assist leader for UCSB this season. His 3946 career assists are currently third all time. He''ll need to surpass the 5011 assists compiled by Jon Wallace to become number one.
The Gauchos have a number of impressive streaks being maintained. Vince Devany has reached the 40 assist mark in 6 straight. Jeff Menzel has recorded double digit kills in 9 straight and 14 overall. Cullen Irons has reached 10+ kills in 11 straight and 15 overall. Libero Andy McGuire has reached 10+ kills in the last two matches.
UCSB has demonstrated that they have one of the premier attacking games in the country. With team-leader Cullen Irons (232 kills) and Jeff Meff Menzel (229 kills), last year's nationwide leaders in kills, receiving set-ups from senior setter Vince Devany, the Gauchos rank second in the MPSF in kills, assists. and hitting percentage.