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Week in Sports: Gauchos Reach NCAA Volleyball Final


TOP SPORTING EVENTS: MAY 6-16

It’s May Madness in Pennsylvania, and UCSB is playing the Cinderella role. The Gauchos upset top-ranked USC for the second time in six days Thursday to advance to the championship match of the NCAA men’s volleyball tournament. They will face Ohio State at 4 p.m. (Pacific time) Saturday (May 7) at Penn State’s Recreation Hall. Both schools will seek their first NCAA volleyball title on national television (ESPN2).

The fourth-seeded Gauchos fought off three set points in the first game and went on to knock off the Trojans in four games, 29-27, 24-26, 25-15 and 25-18. Ohio State, the third seed, also pulled an upset against second-seeded Penn State, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22 and 25-23.

UCSB is now 5-0 in NCAA semifinals, but in four previous finals it fell short – to UCLA in 1970, ’74 and ’75 and to USC in 1988. Ohio State was runner-up in 1977 and 2000.

Shades of Connecticut in the NCAA basketball tournament: The Gauchos lost four of their last five matches in the regular season and went into the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a 14-14 record. Then they proceeded to beat No. 2 BYU on its home court and take down Long Beach State and the Trojans at USC’s Galen Center.

The BYU match proved pivotal for the Gauchos. “Because serves tend to drift [in the thin air of Provo, Utah], we switched to float serves and missed only 10 serves,” associate head coach Lee Nelson said. “In our last [regular season] match against USC, we had eight service errors in the third game alone.”

On Thursday, the Gauchos continued to keep their serves under control and committed just eight errors in the four games. USC had 20. Murphy Troy, the national player of the year, had eight of the Trojans’ miscues at the service line. Leading UCSB’s attack were senior Cullen Irons and sophomore Dylan Davis, each with 15 kills. It was a season-high for Davis, the only non-senior among UCSB’s top seven players. All-American hitter Jeff Menzel had 13 kills, and libero Andy McGuire came through with 11 digs.

There also will be plenty of action in Santa Barbara this weekend, beginning with the Special Olympics School Games track & field meet at La Playa Stadium on Friday morning. SBCC’s baseball team is hosting a best-of-three series against Riverside in the Southern California Regionals. The Venice Beach Ninjas visit the Santa Barbara Breakers in West Coast Pro Basketball League game, and the Brawlin’ Betties take on the Prison City Derby Dames from Chino in a roller-derby bout at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

Friday, May 6

Special Olympics – Santa Barbara School Games (track & field), La Playa Stadium, 9 a.m.

College baseball – UCSB at Cal State Northridge, 3 p.m.; Southern California Regionals: Riverside at SBCC, 2 p.m.

High school track & field – Channel League Finals at Ventura, 3 p.m.

High school baseball – Ventura at Santa Barbara, 3:15 p.m.; Buena at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.; Oaks Christian at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – Mission Prep at Cate, 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 7

High school softball – Bishop Diego at San Marcos (2), 11 a.m.

College baseball – Southern California Regionals: Riverside at SBCC, 11 a.m. (Second game following, if necessary). UCSB at Cal State Northridge, 1 p.m.

College softball – Southern California Regionals: SBCC at Santa Ana, 2 p.m.

Basketball – Venice Beach Ninjas at Santa Barbara Breakers, SBCC Sports Pavilion, 4 p.m.

College men’s volleyball – NCAA championship at State College, Pa.: UCSB vs. Ohio State, 4 p.m. (TVESPN2).

Roller derby – Mission City Brawlin’ Betties vs. Prison City Derby Dames, Earl Warren Showgrounds, 5 p.m.

Sunday, May 8

College baseball – UCSB at Cal State Northridge, 1 p.m.

College softball – Southern California Regionals: SBCC at Santa Ana, 12 p.m. (Second game following, if necessary).

Polo – Lisle Nixon Memorial at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 1 p.m.

Monday, May 9

Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Café, 12 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10

High school baseball – Fillmore at Bishop Diego, 2:30 p.m.; San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.; Oak Park at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school softball – Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, 3:30 p.m.; Santa Paula at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – CIF playoffs, first round: Palos Verdes at Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.; Dos Pueblos at San Clemente, 6 p.m.; Flintridge Prep at Laguna Blanca, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 11

College baseball – UCSB at UCLA, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 12

High school baseball – Dos Pueblos at San Marcos, 3:15 p.m.

High school softball – San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, 3:30 p.m.; Villanova Prep at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 13

College softball – UC Davis at UCSB (2), 12 p.m.

College men’s rugby – USA Rugby Division 1 semifinals at Stanford: UCSB vs. Bowling Green, 2 p.m.

College baseball – UC Irvine at UCSB, 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 14

College softball – UC Davis at UCSB, 12 p.m.

College baseball – UC Irvine at UCSB, 1 p.m.

Basketball – Nationwide Allstars at Santa Barbara Breakers, SBCC Sports Pavilion, 4 p.m.

College men’s rugby – USA Rugby Division 1 championship at Stanford, 4 p.m.

Sunday, May 15

College baseball – UC Irvine at UCSB, 1 p.m.

Polo – Lisle Nixon Memorial at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 1 p.m.

Monday, May 16

Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Café, 12 p.m.

RUNNING, WALKINGCYCLING

Saturday, May 7 – Wine Country Half Marathon, Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez, 7 a.m. runsantaynez.com.

Wednesday, May 11 – Nite Moves Summer Sunset Series (1k swim, 5k run), Leadbetter Beach, 6 p.m. Continues every Wednesday through August 31. runsantabarbara.com.

Saturday, May 14 – Lakes of Love 4-Mile Run/Walk for Cancer Research, Stow Grove Park, 9 a.m. lakesoflove.com.

Friday, May 20 – Amgen Tour of California at Solvang: Women’s International Time Trial Challenge, 11:30 a.m. Amgen Tour Men’s Sixth Stage Time Trial, 12:30 p.m. amgentourofcalifornia.com.

SPECIAL EVENT

Monday, May 23 – 44th Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame Banquet, Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort, 6 p.m. Inductees: Jenny Santos Lafferty, Linnea Mendoza Meister, Omel Nieves, Scott Puailoa, Kyle Shotwell, Ken Preston, Bill Pintard and the South Coast Community Aquatics Association. Reservations: www.sbart.org



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