Jan. 6, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Irvine men's volleyball team left no doubt as to why it is ranked first in the nation as the Anteaters blanked No. 3 UCLA 3-0 Saturday to win the title game of the 43rd Annual UCSB/Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational at Robertson Gymnasium. No. 6 UC Santa Barbara defeated No. 9 Cal State Northridge 3-1 to finish in third place.
Scores of the championship match were 30-22, 30-26, and 30-23.
UC Irvine (4-0) steamrolled through the entire two-day tourney and won all three of its matches in three games. All-American setter Brian Thornton was named the most valuable player as he orchestrated the powerful offense and collected 45 assists and two blocks in the win over the Bruins. Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky, the 2006 AVCA National Player of the Year, and All-American opposite hitter Matt Webber were named to the all-tournament team. Jablonsky recorded 11 kills and added eight digs, while Webber posted a match-high 12 kills and picked up four digs and three blocks in the win against UCLA.
UCLA (2-1), which defeated UCSB 3-0 Friday, got 11 kills from Steve Klosterman and 10 out of Paul George, each of whom were named to the all-tourney team. The reigning national champions, UCLA won the tournament back-to-back in 2004 and 2005, but hit just .194 tonight against the Anteaters. The Bruins were stifled at times by a solid block from Irvine, five of those coming from David Smith.
UC Irvine last won the tournament back in 2003 (by defeating UCLA 3-2) and UCLA has appeared in the title match in each of the past five years. Long Beach State won the 2006 affair by topping UCLA 3-1.
UCSB (2-1) took third place by defeating the Matadors 30-25, 24-30, 30-17, and 30-22. Four Gauchos hit double figures in kills as Evan Patak and Aaron Richman each had 14, Theo Brunner totaled 12 and Armen Zakarian had 11. UCSB hit .415 in the match, much of that attributed to Brunner as he had no errors in 15 swings for a .800 attack percentage. Patak added six service aces, two blocks, and turned in a match-high 21 points before being selected to the all-tournament team. Richman had four aces as the Gauchos dropped in a total of 13 on the night. Zakarian and Richman both amassed 10 digs apiece and Brunner had four blocks. Setter Max Klineman had 52 assists.
For Cal State Northridge (1-2), Theo Edwards led the team offensively with a match-high 20 kills. James Lischer had 13 kills, hit .429, tallied four blocks, and was named to the all-tournament team. After hitting .545 as a team to win the second game, the Matadors dropped to .074 in game three.
In the fifth place match, No. 10 Long Beach State (2-1) defeated No. 14 Pacific (1-2) in three games. USC (1-2), ranked 12th in the country, topped Stanford (0-3) 3-2 to take seventh place.
UCSB opens Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play on the road as it plays Pacific Jan. 12 and Stanford Jan. 13. The Gauchos return home to host UCLA Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
Final Round Results (overall season records in parentheses):
Championship match: #1 UC Irvine (4-0) def. #3 UCLA (2-1), 3-0 (30-22, 30-26, 30-23)
Runner-up match: # UC Santa Barbara (2-1) def. #9 Cal State Northridge (1-2), 3-1 (30-25, 24-30, 30-17, 30-22)
Fifth place match: #10 Long Beach State (2-1) def. #14 Pacific (1-2), 3-0 (30-26, 30-28, 30-25)
Seventh place match: #12 USC (1-2) def. Stanford (0-3), 3-2 (30-28, 23-30, 23-30, 30-28, 15-12)
Final Tournament Standings and Records
1. UC Irvine, 3-0
2. UCLA, 2-1
3. UC Santa Barbara, 2-1
4. Cal State Northridge, 1-2
5. Long Beach State, 2-1
6. Pacific, 1-2
7. USC, 1-2
8. Stanford, 0-3
Most Valuable Player: Brian Thornton, UC Irvine
Paul George, UCLA
Jayson Jablonsky, UC Irvine
Steve Klosterman, UCLA
James Lischer, Cal State Northridge
Evan Patak, UC Santa Barbara
Matt Webber, UC Irvine