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Gauchos Outlast No. 13 Hawai’i in Marathon Match

UCSB picks up where it left off a night earlier, pounds out 3-1 victory and season sweep of Warriors.

For the second year in a row, UCSB swept its season series against Hawai’i with a grueling 3-1 victory Saturday at Robertson Gymnasium. The match saw all four games go into extra points, with the Gauchos winning 32-30, 30-32, 36-34 and 36-34.

UCSB, which has won its last three matches, improved to 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. No. 13 Hawai’i dropped to 3-6 on the year and 2-4 in league contests.

Four Gauchos had 10 or more kills, with middle blocker Theo Brunner leading the way with 25. Freshman Jeff Menzel, a former San Marcos High star, followed with 23, Phil Mathews had 19 and Mike Runkle finished with 12. Defensively, libero Andy McGuire posted a match-high 18 digs, while Mathews totaled 12 and Menzel added 10. Menzel led UCSB at the net with five blocks.

Hawai’i out-hit the Gauchos .299 (74-24-167) to .254 (90-40-197), and again owned the block, out-stuffing UCSB 17-10.

The Warriors got a match-best 26 kills from Joshua Walker. They also had four players tally double-digit kill totals as Jacob Schkud collected 15, Jim Clar had 13, and Keali’i Frank ended up with 10. Matias Brizuela led the defense with 17 digs. Steven Grgas had seven blocks, while Keali’i and Schkud each had six.

The match saw the score tied 55 times, including 19 occasions in the opening set. In game four, the Gauchos found themselves down by as many as nine points, at 21-12. A six-point run brought UCSB within one at 22-21, but the Warriors fought to take a four-point lead at 26-22 on a Gauchos hitting error. A Mathews kill tied the game at 29 and UCSB took the lead on an attack error by Hawai’i. After trading points to tie the game at 34, the Gauchos got back-to-back kills from Brunner and Mathews to seal the win.

In Friday’s series opener, UCSB took a 3-2 win after the Warriors picked up a 31-29 extra point win in the first frame.

Saturday’s match was the final in a five-match home stand for UCSB. The Gauchos head north to take on Stanford at 7 p.m. Friday and Pacific at 3 p.m. Feb. 9.

Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.

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