The UCSB men’s volleyball team easily handled Harvard Thursday night, beating the Crimson on the road in Cambridge. The Gauchos schooled the Ivy Leaguers, winning in straight sets 30-26, 30-22 and 30-21.
The win bumped Santa Barbara to 7-8 overall while Harvard dropped its record on the year to a dismal 0-7.
The Gauchos turned in a complete team effort, with nine players posting at least three kills, and none with more than eight. Junior outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who suffered a left knee injury in a game against UCLA last week, paced the Gauchos with a team-high eight kills. Senior opposite Jake Rosener had seven kills and sophomore outside hitter Blaine Nielsen also added six. As the MPSF leader in opponent hitting percentage, Santa Barbara held Harvard to 16 percent while hitting at a clip of 42 percent.
The Gauchos trailed for much of the first set before taking the lead for the first time at 21-20. From that point on, Santa Barbara not only dominated the game but the entire match.
After winning the first set 30-26, the second and third sets belonged entirely to the Gauchos. Santa Barbara was simply too tough for Harvard, beating the Crimson 30-22 in the second and 30-21 in the third, highlighted by late four-point runs in each set.
Santa Barbara continues to thrive away from Santa Barbara this year, now with a 6-1 record away from Robertson Gymnasium.
Tonight UCSB will leave Cambridge and travel to Springfield, Mass. to take on Springfield College in the opening round of the 2010 Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic. Springfield (8-4) is currently the #3 ranked team in Division III.
The winner of the UCSB/Springfield match will meet the winner of George Mason (3-6) and Ohio State (9-5) in the championship game of the Classic on Saturday. The losers of the games will play in a third place consolation game.
UCSB will look to complete a successful East Coast trip before returning home to focus on finishing out the MPSF season strong.