Playoff Preview: Men's Volleyball in NCAA Title Match

Playoff Preview: Men's Volleyball in NCAA Title Match

May 6, 2011

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• Official Watch Party
UCSB Athletics is hosting an official watch party for the championship game at Sandbar, located on State Street downtown. Be part of the fun, get happy hour specials and win UCSB gear by joining UCSB Athletics beginning at 3:30!

• Career Night for Davis
Dylan Davis broke a number of records on Thursday night. He set a career high in kills with 15, his previous high was 13 at Hawai'i on February 3. He broke the NCAA tourney record for single-match hitting percentage with a .882 clip. The previous record was held by USC assistant coach Jeff Nygaard at .867. It was also a career-high hitting percentage for Dylan. His previous high was .688 in the same match against Hawai'i on Feb 3.

Dylan is five blocks away from joining Scott Slaughter (106 blocks) in UCSB's century club.

• Irons's Defensive Game Coming on Strong
Cullen Irons's defensive game has come to the forefront since the beginning of the MPSF playoffs, and has continued into the NCAA's. On Thursday night, Cullen set a season-high with six blocks. He had recorded five blocks on multiple occasions, most recently at Stanford on February 26. He also had six digs, which while nothing to sneeze at, is his lowest postseason total. He recorded seven at BYU, 11 vs Long Beach State, and 12 at USC.

• Gauchos in NCAA Title Matches
The Gauchos are 0-4 all-time in NCAA Championship matches. Their most recent loss came in 1988 at the hands of the USC Trojans, while they fell to Al Scates's UCLA Bruins three times in the 1970's (71', 74', 75').

• Undefeated Against the Buckeyes
In school history, the Gauchos have never lost to Ohio State. They are 7-0 against the Buckeyes, most recently beating them in 2010.

• Menzel Down, But Not Out
Jeff Menzel had one of his least effective matches in recent memory on Thursday night. He recorded just 13 kills, by far his lowest in the postseason and his lowest overall since recording 11 at Pepperdine on April 14. His .071 hitting percentage was the second lowest of the season, the lowest being .038 at Pacific on February 25. His 42 attack attempts were the lowest total of the postseason, so it's a good bet his numbers will be back up against Ohio St.

Entering the Championship match, Jeff sits at 494 kills and 999 attacks, so barring catastrophe he will eclipse the 500 kill and 1000 attacks marks.

• All in the Family
Should the Gauchos win on Saturday night, Rick and Jim McLaughlin will be the first pair of brothers to have both won an NCAA National Championship in men's volleyball. Jim won a national title for USC in 1990 in his rookie year as a head coach. Jim is now the head coach for Washington's women's team.

• Dig Extraordinaire
Andy enters the Championship match with 267 digs on the season. If he records 4 or more digs, he will have the top two single-season dig totals in school history. Andy set the record with 322 digs last year. Aaron Mansfield currently sits at No. 2 with 270 digs recorded in the 2004 season.

• Valbuena Contributing
Trey's 8 kills on Thursday night were the most he's recorded since March 12 vs Lewis at the Long Beach Active Ankle Tournament. Though his .800 hitting percentage wasn't technically eligible, it is his highest clip of the season. Thursday night's match was also the most reception opportunities Trey has had without picking up a reception error.

• My Setter Vinny
Thursday night's match was the sixth in a row in which Vince recorded 40+ assists.

• Great Scott
Scott has now recorded 7+ kills in all four playoff matches. Scott avoided recording a service error for just the fourth time this season on Thursday night.

Video: 5/6 Men's Volleyball: Playoff Preview: Men's Volleyball in NCAA Title Match
May 6, 2011