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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Gauchos Fall to Both UC Irvine and Northridge

UCSB off to slow start in Elephant Bar volleyball tournament, faces Pacific in last-place game.

Poor hitting plagued the 14th-ranked UCSB men’s volleyball team Friday as it was swept by No. 7 Cal State Northridge in the second round of the Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational at Robertson Gymnasium. Earlier Friday, the Gauchos fell to defending national champion UC Irvine, 3-1. UCSB will play Pacific on Saturday in the seventh/eighth-place match.

Northridge beat UCSB by scores of 30-21, 30-25 and 30-27 as the Matadors evened their record at 1-1 while the Gauchos fell to 0-2 on the young season.

UCSB hit a dismal .045 for the match with 28 kills and 24 errors in 89 swings. Game two proved to be the most frustrating for the Gauchos as they hit -.032. In contrast, Northridge swung at .320 for the match and opened with a .472 attack percentage in the first set.

The Gauchos got a strong performance out of outside hitter Jeff Menzel, a freshman from San Marcos High who led all players with 15 kills and 16.5 points. He was the lone Gaucho to amass a double-digit kill total. Setter Mike Runkle totaled 24 assists and had a solid game at the net with five blocks.

For the Matadors, Cody Loe and Kevin McKniff each put away 12 kills. McKniff hit .579 and Loe was just behind at .500. A force up front, Loe also recorded five blocks and led his squad with 15 points. Eric Vance had a match-best eight digs.

In the Gauchos’ earlier match Friday, fifth-ranked UC Irvine (2-1) came out tough and won the first two games by scores of 30-21 and 30-26. UCSB recovered to take game three, 30-28, but the Anteaters eked out a 35-33 victory in the fourth and deciding frame.

Menzel, had a team-high 21 kills for UCSB. Sam Moisenco followed with 12 kills and he hit .571 with no errors in 21 swings in the middle. He and Scott Slaughter each blocked four balls. Setter Max Klineman totaled 54 assists and had six kills and no errors in nine attempts to hit .667. On the defensive end, Andy McGuire posted a match-high 19 digs and Phil Mathews had 10.

The Anteaters had four players hit double digits in kills — Taylor Wilson (22), Jordan DuFault (14), Cory Yoder (13) and Aaron Harrell (11). Setter Anthony Spittle registered 57 assists, while Brent Asuka had 12 digs. Wilson had seven blocks and Brett Kohout had six as Irvine out-blocked UCSB, 13.5 to 9.0.

In other first-round action, Alberta defeated Pacific, 3-0 (30-24, 30-23, 30-19); Long Beach State took down USC, 3-0 (30-27, 30-22, 30-24); and Stanford topped Northridge, 3-1 (30-27, 30-25, 28-30, 32-30).

In Friday’s second-round action, Alberta defeated Long Beach State, 3-1 (30-28, 30-24, 26-30, 30-24); Stanford topped UC Irvine 3-2 (30-21, 30-28, 24-30, 24-30, 15-10); and USC dispatched Pacific, 3-1 (30-20, 30-26, 25-30, 30-22).

Tournament play concludes Saturday with four matches at Robertson Gymnasium. UCSB plays Pacific in the seventh/eighth-place match (11 a.m.), Northridge battles USC in the fifth/sixth-place tilt (1:30 p.m.), UC Irvine plays Long Beach State in the consolation match (4 p.m.), and Alberta faces off against Stanford in the championship (6:30 p.m.).

Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.

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