March 2, 2007
Fort Wayne, Ind. - Senior opposite hitter Evan Patak powered No. 4 UC Santa Barbara past No. 8 IPFW in three games Friday in non-conference volleyball action at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center. The victory snapped a three-match losing slide for the Gauchos, while the Mastodons suffered their third consecutive defeat.
UCSB won by scores of 30-21, 30-27, and 34-32 in front of 1,261 fans to improve to 13-6 on the season. IPFW dropped to 9-4.
Patak finished with a match-co-high 16 kills and collected seven of UCSB's nine service aces. It was the fourth time this year that Patak, who leads the nation in aces, totaled seven un-returnable serves.
UCSB middle blocker Theo Brunner posted 10 kills, libero Tyson Norton had a match-high 10 digs, and middle David Kennedy stuffed five balls at the net. Setter Bart Kowalski racked up 43 assists in the win.
Patak broke open a close game one with a four-point service rotation which included three aces and a kill by Michael Fisher. The Gauchos hit .471 in the game, the highest total of the night for both squads.
In game two, the Mastodons opened up a 10-7 lead but couldn't hold on. It was Patak again with another three-ace service rotation that gave the Gauchos a 23-22 advantage. IPFW fought off two game points with kills from C.J. Macias and Josh Collins, but Kennedy put down the final kill for UCSB to take a 2-0 lead.
IPFW looked poised to run away with the third game after a Macias kill made it 23-14 in favor of the Mastodons. However, Kowalski was able to rattle off five straight points on serve to pull the Gauchos to within two at 29-27. Patak and Kennedy registered kills to tie it at 29-29. UCSB head coach Ken Preston made a late substitution, bringing in outside hitter Aaron Richman. Richman only had two kills in the match, but they gave the Gauchos leads of 32-31 and 33-32. Patak put the final nail in the coffin with his 16th kill of the contest on match point.
IPFW was led by Macias with 16 kills. Josh Stewart had eight kills and eight block assists as the Mastodons held a 17-9 advantage in blocks.
After starting the season 8-0, IPFW has now lost four of its last five matches.
The Gauchos and Mastodons will face each other again Saturday night at the Gates Center. Preston will be gunning for his 500th career victory. First serve is slated for 4 p.m. (PT).