January 30, 2006

No. 9 Gauchos Take Mid-Week Road Trip to South Coast MPSF Rivals

Jan. 30, 2006

This Week's Matchups:

Wednesday, February 1, 7:30 p.m.
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara at No. 3 Long Beach State
Long Beach, Calif.

Thursday, February 2, 7:00 p.m.
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara at UC San Diego
La Jolla, Calif.

Saturday, February 4, 5:00 p.m.
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Santa Cruz
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Roberston Gym

The Skinny
The Gauchos enter the weekend with a 4-5 record overall and a 3-3 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCSB is in the midst of a two-game winning streak after sweeping two No. 14 Pacific and Stanford last weekend at home. The win over Pacific on Friday ended the Gauchos' three-game losing streak.

Scouting the Opponents
No. 3 Long Beach State (8-1 overall, 4-1 MPSF) fell out of the top slot in the national rankings this week after losing to then-No. 3 and now top-ranked Pepperdine at home, 3-1. The 49ers quickly recovered from their loss on Friday and beat #13 USC 3-1. Long Beach is led by Robert Tarr who is averaging 5.58 kills per game and hitting .318. The meeting is the first since the two teams met in the MPSF Semifinals last year when the 49ers ended the Gauchos season with a 3-0 sweep in Malibu, Calif. The loss came as a surprise to many after UCSB had beaten the 49ers twice during the regular season.

UC San Diego (0-7 overall, 0-3 MPSF) is coming off losses to No. 1 Pepperdine and No. 13 USC, both of which resulted in sweeps. The Tritons are led by Jon Daze who is averaging 2.91 kills per game while four other players are averaging at least two kills per game.

Division III UC Santa Cruz is currently ranked No. 4 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll. The slugs are 2-1 against D III opponents with wins over Stevens Institute and Medaille College.

Patak Yourself on the Back
2005 All-American Evan Patak has continued to demand the ball from his teammates, and with good reason. The junior opposite is averaging 5.68 kills per game on a .283 hitting clip and has been just as successful at serve, registering 21 services aces in 31 games played for a 0.68 average. Patak is also third on the team in blocks with 19 total. Patak is coming off a relatively tame weekend in which he recorded 29 kills in two matches.

Long Distance Brunner
Sophomore middle blocker Theo Brunner is coming off his most productive weekend of the young season. In the two matches against Pacific and Stanford, Brunner posted a .730 hitting percentage on 19 kills. The Ridgefield, Conn. native leads the Gauchos with a .436 percentage in 2006 and his 22 total blocks (six of which have been solo) tie him for the team lead with Michael Fisher.

Klineman Up the Mountain
Freshman Max Klineman is continuing to show signs of progress for the Gauchos. Currently averaging 13.10 sets per game, Klineman set up 79 kills on 150 attempts in two matches this past weekend against Pacific and Stanford for a .526 percentage.