The UCSB men’s volleyball team (4-6 overall, 3-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) was not a gracious host this past weekend, as the Gauchos swept the two-game match up with the visiting University of Hawaii (3-4 overall, 2-4 MPSF). In Friday’s match, the Gauchos were able to pull out a 3-2 victory, and in Saturday’s match, Santa Barbara defeated the Warriors 3-1.
“This whole weekend was a battle with [Hawaii],” junior setter Max Klineman said. “We wouldn’t have been surprised if it went to five. Our teams matched up pretty closely, so you have to expect that, and pretty much anything this weekend.”
On Friday, the Gauchos had three players with double-digit kill totals, with senior middle blocker Theo Brunner leading all players with 21 kills. Freshman opposite Jeff Menzel had 18 kills, and junior outside setter Mike Runkle totaled 10. Brunner also had the highest attack percentage with a .462 clip.
“I have been working hard,” Brunner said. “I’m just glad to get our team back on track. We have been struggling a bit, and we were not able to get over that hump competitively, and we finally got through. I’m just glad I could help my teammates out.”
The Warriors only had two players with double digit kills, with junior outside hitter Jim Clar leading the way with 19 and freshman outside hitter Joshua Walker right behind him with 18. It was at the net that the Warriors had the advantage over the Gauchos, out-blocking UCSB 24 to 10.5. Sophomore outside hitter Steven Grgas led all players with 11 blocks.
On Saturday, both teams battled back and forth for the entire match, with all four games going to extra points. The match saw 55 tied scores, with 19 coming in game one’s 32-30 Gaucho victory. The Gauchos won the match by scores of 32-30, 30-32, 36-34, 36-34.
“I think we were a little steadier [Saturday] than we were [Friday],” Brunner said. “[Friday], everyone was a little more jittery because they didn’t want to lose the game. We are getting better at closing games.”
The Gauchos had four players with double-digit kill totals. Brunner led the way with 25, followed by Menzel, Mathews and Runkle with 23, 19 and 12 kills respectively.
Walker led the Warriors and all players with 26 kills. Once again, Hawaii out-blocked the Gauchos 17-10, with Grgas leading with seven blocks.
“They always have been a great blocking team,” Brunner said. “They get a lot of triple blocks, a lot more than any other team.”