No. 7 Long Beach State Triumphs Over No. 10 UC-Santa Barbara in Three-Set Sweep
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A career-high 14 kills from middle blocker Scott Slaughter wasn't enough as No. 10 UC Santa Barbara was swept in three sets by No. 7 Long Beach State Saturday in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men's volleyball action. Scores went 30-28, 30-20, and 36-34 at the Thunderdome.
After avenging a 3-0 loss to UCSB back in early January, Long Beach State improved to 5-5 overall, 4-3 in the MPSF. UCSB fell to 3-7 and 1-6 with its third consecutive loss.
Outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who had led UCSB in kills in the team's previous nine matches, had an off night. Playing in two sets, Menzel led the squad with 22 attack attempts, but hit -.136 with five kills and eight errors. Slaughter's solid outing also included a .632 hitting percentage, an assist, an ace, two digs, and six blocks. He established a second career-high with 18.5 points. Jake Rosener had 10 kills and seven digs, while Blaine Nielsen and Trey Valbuena each tallied seven kills.
The Gauchos hit under .200 in the first two sets, but held a .391 to .282 advantage in the third frame. Overall, UCSB swung at a .236 clip.
"Our goal was just to compete play to play, regardless of the score, and we did that," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin of his team's performance.
Dean Bittner led Long Beach in kills with a match-high 15. Tommy Pestolesi had 11 kills and Josh Riley added ten. Libero Dustin Watten recorded 13 digs and Dan Alexander had six blocks. Setter Mike Klipsch totaled 39 assists as he led the 49ers to a .326 attack percentage for the match.
UCSB tried to grab the momentum in set three as it took a 28-27 lead on a big block by Slaughter and Cullen Irons. However, the 49ers scored two straight points before the Gauchos held on to turn away four match points. After a service error gave Long Beach a 32-31 lead, UCSB tallied two consecutive points on a Rosener kill and a hitting error by the 49ers to take a 33-32 lead. Down 34-33, Long Beach reeled off three consecutive points to ice the victory. Josh Riley had a pair of kills and Bittner ended it with a kill of a set by Watten.
"We played them pretty tough in the first and third," McLaughlin said. "It was just another inconsistent spell for us."
The Gauchos play just one match this coming week as they travel to No. 3 UC Irvine on Wednesday, Feb. 11 (7 p.m.).
Article courtesy of UC Santa Barbara athletics.