No. 4 UCSB Upset at No. 11 Cal State Northridge

Feb. 28, 2007

Box Score

Northridge, Calif. - Despite a slew of match-high numbers from senior opposite hitter Evan Patak, the No. 4 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team was upset 3-1 by No. 11 Cal State Northridge in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest Wednesday at The Matadome.

UCSB fell to 12-6 overall and 10-5 in the MPSF, while CSUN improved to 9-9 and 7-6.

The Gauchos, who have now lost a season-long three-straight matches, came out strong by hitting .444 in the first game to take a 30-23 victory. However, the Matadors, who snapped a two-match losing skid, regrouped to take the next three games by scores of 30-23, 30-27, and 30-26.

Patak totaled 27 kills, six service aces, eight digs, and five blocks, all match-highs.

Dan Rhodes led the Matadors with a season-high 25 kills.

The Gauchos took command early in game one as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never trailed. The Matadors cut the lead to one twice in the early going, the last at 11-10 before UCSB scored six of the next eight points to build its lead to 17-12 on a CSUN hitting error. The Gauchos, behind four kills each from Patak and middle David Kennedy, were not threatened the rest of the way and took a 1-0 lead in the match.

In game two, the two teams traded the lead until a James Lischer kill got Northridge even at 21-21. The kill sent the Matadors on a 4-0 run, highlighted by a pair of Eric Vance kills, that gave Northridge the cushion it needed to take game two. Vance responded from a rough game one to pound eight kills in game two.

The third game saw UCSB claim the first point as Patak and Kennedy teamed up to block Vance, but an Aaron Richman service error and a Patak hitting error gave Northridge back a lead it would never relinquish. The Gauchos tied the score five times, the last at 8-8, but could never take back the lead and the Matadors broke open a 19-18 game with a 3-0 run on kills from Rhodes, Sean Pedersen and Lischer. UCSB would get within two but no closer as the Matadors closed the game on a Rhodes kill.

In the decisive game four, Northridge held slim leads until 21-21 when back-to-back kills from Vance and Isaac Kneubuhl forced a Gaucho timeout. After the timeout, a Rhodes kill gave the Matadors a 24-21 lead before outside hitter Bryan Berman answered, cutting the lead to 24-22. Patak's sixth ace of the match at 26-24 cut the lead to one and the Gauchos also cut the lead to one at 27-26, but an Armen Zakarian service error, a Patak hitting error, and a Vance ace at match point gave Northridge the 3-1 win.

Patak hit a team-best .489 in the loss. Berman finished with nine kills and seven digs, while Theo Brunner and Kennedy each put down eight kills. Setter Bart Kowalski totaled 34 assists.

Rhodes also had three aces, five digs, and one block in the win. Vance knocked down 16 kills and Kyle Waite added eight kills. Pedersen recorded 51 assists, five kills, five digs, and three blocks and libero Ali'i Keohohou came up with a match-co-high eight digs.

Northridge out-hit Santa Barbara .430 to .378 for the match and hit .500 or better in games three and four. UCSB held an 8.0 to 6.0 advantage in blocks. Both teams struggled from the service line with CSUN committing 27 errors and UCSB muffing 24.

UCSB takes a break from conference action and travels to No. 8 Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne March 2-3.