Up-and-down Gauchos way up on this one

Finally the tides have turned.

Under pressure to turn around a 1-4 start, the No. 10 UCSB men’s volleyball team upset its second top-10 team in less than a week, dropping No. 2 Stanford, 3-1, Thursday night at Burnham Pavilion. Set scores were 30-28, 31-29, 28-30, and 31-29 in favor of the Gauchos.

Cullen Irons connected on 22 of 40 attack attempts. His .375 hitting percentage matched a season-high. Jeff Menzel added 23 kills and a career-high five aces as UCSB hit .403 over the first two sets. Scott Slaughter started his first match of the season, adding 12 kills and three blocks. Vince Devany collected his fourth 60-plus assist night of the season, finishing with 62.


Kawika Shoji dished out 56 assists for the Cardinal (3-2, 3-2). Evan Romero collected a match-high 26 kills and Brad Lawson followed with 22. Romero and Lawson hit .449 and .455 respectively. Stanford out-blocked the Gauchos 23 to 6 and out UCSB, .384 (68-15-136) to .336 (77-26-152).

Youth prevailed in the first set for UCSB (3-5, 3-2), as freshman middle blocker Dylan Davis stalled a late Stanford rally with a kill to make it 29-27 in favor of the Gauchos. Garrett Dobbs answered with a kill to bring the match back to 29-28, but Davis matched his effort, finishing the set, 30-28.

After Stanford won the third set to prolong the match, UCSB found itself tied at 28-28 late in the fourth frame. Davis gave the Gauchos a one-point lead, matching a season-high 11 kills in the process. The teams traded service errors before a Jake Rosener ace ended the match, 31-29 in favor of UCSB.

The Gauchos recently upset upset defending national champions No. 2 UC Irvine. 3-1, last Friday at the Bren Events Center.