UCSB (7-8 overall, 5-6 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play) got 11 kills, six digs and a career-high eight blocks from Jeff Menzel, a freshman opposite from San Marcos High. However, the Gauchos hit just .134 (39-24-112) for the match.
UC Irvine (9-9, 6-7 MPSF) was paced by Jon Stellar with a match-high 16 kills.
The Anteaters cruised to the 30-23 win in the opening game. Down 22-21 in game two, they scored six-straight points on a Cory Yoder kill, three aces and two Gauchos attack errors to give UCI a 27-22 advantage. They never trailed again and took the 30-25 win.
UCSB led 22-18 in game three, but the Anteaters scored the next four points on the strength of Steller’s serving, which included an ace, to tie the Gauchos at 22. UCSB made a run of its own, scoring the next four to go back on top, 26-22, only to watch UCI score the next four to tie it again, 26-26. The teams traded points until a UCSB service error was followed by a Cole Reinholm kill for the 30-28 Anteaters victory.
The Gauchos were dominant on the block, holding a 16.5 to 7.5 advantage.
Outside hitters Mike Fisher, a senior from Santa Barbara High, and Phil Mathews, as well as middle blocker Theo Brunner, all had seven kills for UCSB. Mathews had a team-best nine digs, while Brunner matched a career high with eight blocks.
For UCI, setter Ryan Ammerman totaled 41 assists, three service aces, eight digs and three blocks in the win. Libero Brent Asuka had a match-high 13 digs.
Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.