In the men’s volleyball team’s third straight road game, #5 UCSB fell to #8 Long Beach State last night 25-18, 25-12, 25-22. With back-to-back losses, the Gauchos are now off to a 1-2 start in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference play.

[media-credit id=16616 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit] CSULB took an early two-set lead and kept the pressure on the Gauchos for a victory in straight sets. UCSB was unable to take a lead until the third game, but the 49ers responded in front of their home crowd and pulled ahead. A UCSB service error ended the set and match.

After the Gauchos lost a close first set, the 49ers controlled the entire second set, leading 24-10 at one point. UCSB looked determined to fight back and win the third set, but the 49er attack was too much for the Gauchos on Tuesday night.

Senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel and senior opposite Cullen Irons each turned in nine kills, but UCSB did not have any player with double-digit kills for the first time this season. The team’s hitting percentage was a dismal .169, the second lowest of the year.

Irons tied CSULB middle blocker Antwain Aguillard with a match high of five blocks, the team total for the Gauchos. However, the team failed to record a serving ace, and UCSB (3-3) now owns a .500 record for the regular season.

For CSULB, junior Jim Baughman led the way with 13 kills, four blocks and three aces. Senior Mike Klipsch turned in 32 assists in a victory for the 49ers. Long Beach was balanced and accurate in a dominating victory.

UCSB jumped in the national ranking up to #5 after a second-place finish in the Gaucho Collegiate Invitational, but the Gauchos have now lost their two previous games in straight sets. In the MPSF, every match is tough, but a quick UCSB turnaround is crucial.

The Gauchos look to get their mojo back as they finish their four-game road stint this Friday at Cal State Northridge. They defeated the Matadors in straight sets in the first round of the Gaucho Collegiate Invitational on Jan. 7 and 3-2 in November at UCLA’s SAC Tournament.