Jan. 17, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - After trailing two games to none, the No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team rallied to upset No. 3 UCLA, 3-2, Wednesday in front of a boisterous Robertson Gymnasium crowd of 830. Evan Patak put away a match-high 31 kills and David Kennedy totaled nine blocks to help the Gauchos stay unbeaten in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play.
Scores of the match went 31-33, 27-30, 30-28, 30-27, and 15-6. UCSB improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the MPSF, while UCLA dropped to 2-4 and 0-3.
It was UCSB's first win against UCLA since April 22, 2002 when the Gauchos took a 3-2 victory in Los Angeles. The Bruins had won the previous 11 match-ups against UCSB, including a 3-0 sweep on Jan. 5 during the Elephant Bar Invitational in Santa Barbara.
UCLA, coming off a pair of 3-0 losses at No. 2 Brigham Young, hit .366 in the opening game, but went downhill from there and finished at .221. After being out-hit in the first two games, UCSB turned it around and hit .333 to UCLA's .171 in game three. The Bruins swung at just a .062 clip in game five, while UCSB hit .500. The Gauchos finished the match with a .267 attack percentage.
In the deciding game, things were close until the Gauchos went on a 3-0 run behind kills from Theo Brunner and Patak and a Kennedy block, which gave UCSB a 7-3 advantage. Another flurry by the Gauchos upped their lead to 11-4. UCLA got back within six points at 12-6, but kills from Patak and Aaron Richman and a Kennedy/Richman block closed out the match.
Patak, named the MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 15, had five digs, three blocks, and two aces to go along with his 31 kills. Richman finished with 15 kills, hit .462, and added nine digs, while Bryan Berman had 12 kills and six digs. The nine blocks for Kennedy was a career-high.
UCLA got 22 kills from Garrett Muagututia. Paul George tallied a double-double with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Matt Wade had 12 digs and Steve Klosterman chipped in with 13 kills. Jamie Diefenbach had nine blocks as the Bruins out-blocked the Gauchos 15.5 to 12.5.
Game three was close the whole way and was tied at 27-27 before two blocks gave UCSB a 29-27 advantage. A Muagutuita kill brought it close again, but Richman slammed the game shut with a booming kill, turning the momentum in favor of the Gauchos.
UCSB found itself down by four points early in game four, but came back to tie it at 11-11. UCSB took its first lead of the game, 13-12, on a hitting error, but could not pull away. Another UCLA error put UCSB up for good at 26-25 and a block by Richman and Kennedy closed out the game and sent the match into a fifth frame.
The week doesn't get any easier as UCSB plays at No. 1 UC Irvine Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.