The #14 UCSB men’s volleyball team (7-7 overall, 5-5 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) looked well rested last night as they defeated the UCLA Bruins (10-6 overall, 7-5 MPSF), 3-1, in a pivotal mid-week matchup. Following a light week, the Gauchos came out firing and won games one and two by scores of 30-21 and 31-29, respectively, dropped game three 30-25 and won game four 30-24, while hitting .341 on the night.
“This is a really big win for us,” freshman libero Andy McGuire said. “We had a solid week in practice and we carried what we did in practice right out to gym. We came out strong in the beginning of each game and we were able to pull out a [win].”
UCLA junior opposite Sean O’Malley and sophomore outside Garrett Muagututia led the Bruins with double digit kills. O’Malley, with a total of 15 kills, led the UCLA squad, while Muagututia came in a close second with 13 kills. O’Malley’s hitting percentage of .344 also led the Bruins.
“[O’Malley] is tall and has a lot of range with his height,” Gaucho junior setter Max Klineman said. “Garrett [Muagututia] is super athletic and he is super strong. It is tough to stop them. I am surprised we took them out.”
UCSB freshman outside hitter Jeff Menzel led all players with 21 kills. He was joined by two other Gauchos in double digit kills; junior outside hitter Mike Runkle with 15 and senior middle blocker Theo Brunner with 12. Brunner also led all players with four total blocks.
“I think Jeff [Menzel] played one of his best matches,” Klineman said. “He was in a little slump, so he came right out of that. Theo [Brunner] started a little slow tonight, but ended up really strong, so that was good. [Runkle] is always steady. He can always be counted on to put the ball down. I feel really confident out there with those three hitters.”
The Gauchos out-hit the Bruins .341 to .253. UCSB also held a slight blocking advantage with eight total team blocks, compared to the seven blocks for the Bruins.