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UC Santa Barbara, USC to play in men's volleyball national semifinal match

It will be a rematch of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title match, won by the Gauchos.

May 04, 2011|By Baxter Holmes

Shortly after the UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team upset top-ranked USC on Saturday, the Gauchos' star player had some bold words for his team's next opponent in an NCAA national semifinal match.

"Whoever we're going to play we're going to beat," said Jeff Menzel, an All-American senior outside hitter.

As it turned out, Santa Barbara will be playing USC again. Despite its loss in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title match, the Trojans (23-3) are the top seeded in the NCAA Final Four. Santa Barbara (17-14) is seeded No. 4.

The rematch will start at 4 p.m. PDT on Thursday at State College, Pa., and will be shown live on ESPN2.

The winner will face the winner of Thursday's semifinal match between second-seeded Penn State (24-6) and third-seeded Ohio State (24-6) for the national championship Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT.

A key for USC will be slowing Menzel, who had a season-high 28 kills against the Trojans in the MPSF title match.

"The guy's a freak, and I mean that in the best sense of the term," USC Coach Bill Ferguson said.

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