March 31, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team hit a scorching .447 en route to a 3-0 sweep over un-ranked Stanford Saturday in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action at Robertson Gymnasium. Senior opposite hitter Evan Patak tallied a match-high 18 kills to bring his career total to 1,987.
Scores of the match went 30-25, 30-26, and 30-26 as the Gauchos improved to 17-10 overall and 12-7 in MPSF play. The Cardinal dropped to 3-21 and 2-16.
UCSB dropped in 61 kills with 15 errors in 103 attacks. It was the first time the Gauchos had hit over .400 since Feb. 17 when they swung at .462 in a three-game win over Long Beach State. Santa Barbara upped its season hitting percentage to .360 and is on pace to break the school's single season record of .348 set in 2002.
Patak hit .452 and added two digs, two blocks, and an ace. With just 13 kills to go for 2,000 in his career, Patak would become just the second Gaucho in school history to accomplish the feat. Donny Harris (1994-97) is UCSB's all-time kills leader with 2,114.
The Gauchos got solid play from their middles as Theo Brunner put away 14 kills and hit .650 and David Kennedy had seven kills and a match-best five blocks. Outside Bryan Berman totaled 11 kills and hit .526, while he and libero Tyson Norton each had a match-high nine digs. Sophomore setter Max Klineman, who has gotten the starting nod in UCSB's last two matches, racked up 52 assists and four blocks.
Stanford, which entered the match hitting under .200 for the season, posted a .333 percentage tonight. The Cardinal was led by Evan Romero's 14 kills and three service aces. Matt Ceran and Kawika Shoji each had 12 kills, while Shoji and Jarod Keller finished with six digs apiece. Setter Miki Groppi had 39 assists.
Stanford led briefly in the opening game as Shoji had the first kill of the night, but UCSB quickly rolled to a 9-5 lead following kills from Aaron Richman and Brunner. Another Richman kill put UCSB up 15-10. The Cardinal got within two points twice, once at 20-18 and again at 26-24, but a Brunner kill and a Stanford hitting error put UCSB back up by four at 28-24. Following a Gaucho service error, Brunner had a kill and a triple block by Kennedy, Klineman, and Berman put the game away.
Stanford again took an early 1-0 lead in the second frame, but two straight kills by Brunner put UCSB ahead. Romero evened the game 3-3 with a kill, but Berman returned the favor and put the Gauchos up for good.
The third game stayed within one or two points until Brunner had a kill followed by an ace to put UCSB up by four at 23-19. Stanford pulled back within two points twice, but could not close the gap any further.
UCSB swept the season series with Stanford as it took a 3-0 victory Jan. 13 at Stanford. The Gauchos have won the last seven contests between the two squads dating back to the 2004 season.
Santa Barbara plays its final regular season home match April 6 against No. 8 Cal State Northridge (7 p.m.).