April 21, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team avenged a 2006 season-ending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament loss to UCLA by topping the No. 4 Bruins 3-1 Saturday in a quarterfinal match at Robertson Gymnasium in front of a season-high 1,157 fans. UCSB will take on top-ranked Pepperdine in the semifinals.
UCSB (20-11) won the first two sets by scores of 30-17 and 37-35 before UCLA (19-11) came back to take game three 30-27. The Gauchos hit .208, their lowest percentage of the night, in game four, but held on to win 30-27. UCSB's 20 victories are its most since finishing 25-13 in 1989.
Senior opposite hitter Evan Patak, an All-MPSF First Team selection, paced the Gaucho attack with 24 kills on .288 hitting. He added three aces, four digs, and a pair of blocks. Junior middle hitter Theo Brunner, also named to the league's first team, followed with 10 kills and had a match-high seven blocks. Senior outside hitter Bryan Berman finished with seven kills and four blocks, while senior middle David Kennedy totaled five blocks as the Gauchos dominated at the net, out-blocking the Bruins 12.5 to 4.0. Defensively, junior libero Ben Brockman amassed a match-best 15 digs and senior outside Armen Zakarian unearthed 12 balls.
UCLA, the reigning national and MPSF champion, was led by opposite Steve Klosterman, who put away a match-high 28 kills in 62 attacks. Outside Garrett Muagututia had 18 kills and eight digs, while outside Paul George totaled 10 kills and 12 digs. Setter Kevin Ker racked up 61 assists, but the Bruins hit just .253 compared to UCSB's .333 attack percentage. Stunningly, UCLA committed a season-high 31 errors from the service line.
UCLA knocked the Gauchos out of the league tourney last year with a 3-1 win in a play-in match in Los Angeles.
UCSB advances to the semifinals and will play No. 1 Pepperdine on April 26 in Malibu (5:30 p.m.). The Waves (25-1) earned a bye in the quarterfinals and the right to host the semis and final by finishing in first place in the MPSF following the regular season. Pepperdine has won both meetings against UCSB this season, sweeping the Gauchos in Santa Barbara and taking a 3-1 decision at Firestone Fieldhouse.
No. 2 BYU will face off against No. 3 UC Irvine in the second semifinal. The Cougars swept Cal State Northridge and the Anteaters defeated Hawai'i 3-2 in quarterfinal matches Saturday.
Tickets for the semifinals and final are currently on sale. Packages are $25 and include tickets to both semifinal matches on April 26 as well as the championship match on April 28. Single session tickets are available at $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-866 WAVE TIX or in person at the athletic ticket office at the southwest corner of Firestone Fieldhouse.
Live video of the Pepperdine/UCSB semi will be available on a pay-per-view basis through CSTV.