BYU betters Gauchos in two straight

PROVO, Utah Jeff Menzel launched a match high 23 kills and Vince Devany dished-out 50 assists, but the No. 10 UCSB men’s volleyball team could not recover from a .173 total team hitting percentage on the night, falling to No. 4 BYU in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, 3-1, Saturday at Smith Fieldhouse.

Set scores were 27-30, 30-17, 30-18, and 30-28 in favor of the Cougars.

The Gauchos remain in ninth place in the MPSF, one spot out of the eight-seed and an automatic bid into the postseason conference tournament. With the win, BYU improves to 16-7 overall, 12-6 in MPSF while UCSB falls to 10-13 and 7-10.

Scott Slaughter hit .312 and added four blocks while connecting on eight kills. Menzel managed six digs, one behind Devany who finished with seven. Grant Goswiller had eight kills in 21 attempts- both career highs. Libero Andy McGuire had seven in addition to five assists.

BYU’s Robb Stowell led his team in kills for the second consecutive night, finishing with 15 kills on 27 attempts with only four errors (.407). Andrew Stewart followed with 11 kills and eight block assists. Futi Tavana provided a massive presence at the net, tallying 14 block assists and a solo block. Libero Joel Silva scooped 11 digs.

UCSB took the early lead, winning the first set in large part to Menzel, who notched seven kills and an ace in the opening frame. The Gauchos would extend their lead to as much as five early in the set, but BYU countered, tying the score 27-27 after a pair of blocks from Stewart. Unfortunately for the Cougars, these would be their last points of the set. Menzel and Rosener each had a kill and the Cougars’ Kent Tuttle had his swing go into the net, giving the Gauchos the 30-27 set-one victory.

Poor hitting would plague the Gauchos the rest of the way as UCSB mustered just a .131 attack percentage over the final three frames. BYU exhibited just the opposite, hitting .409 between set two and four.

UCSB will be back in action next Friday, April 2, against Pacific at Rob Gym. The next night they will square off against Stanford. UCSB has won both of their matches against those particular teams this season. Both matches start at 7 p.m.