Third-Ranked Gauchos Return from Hawai'i to Host UC San Diego and No. 13 Long Beach State

Third-Ranked Gauchos Return from Hawai'i to Host UC San Diego and No. 13 Long Beach State

Feb. 14, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Thursday, February 15, 7 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara vs. UC San Diego
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Saturday, February 17, 7 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 13 Long Beach State
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Last Meeting: 1/27/07 at UCSD
Result: UCSB 3, UCSD 0 (30-17, 30-25, 30-19)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2006 Series: UCSB led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 31-1
Last UCSD Win: 4/9/04 at UCSD
Result: UCSD 3, UCSB 2 (33-35, 33-31, 30-22, 28-30, 15-12)
Current Streak: UCSB, five wins

Last Meeting: 1/26/07 at LBSU
Result: UCSB 3, LBSU 0 (31-29, 30-16, 30-25)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2006 Series: LBSU led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 42-32
Last LBSU Win: 3/1/06 at UCSB
Result: LBSU 3, UCSB 2 (23-30, 26-30, 30-19, 30-27, 15-12)
Current Streak: UCSB, one win

UCSB earned a two-match sweep over Hawai'i Feb. 9 with a 3-1 victory at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. It was UCSB's first sweep against Hawai'i since the 1987 season. The Gauchos won the opening game, 30-26, while the Warriors took a 30-19 victory in game two. UCSB dished it back out with a 30-19 game three victory and closed out the match with a 30-20 advantage in the fourth frame. The loss was UH's sixth-straight. The Gauchos came out on fire offensively in the first game, sporting a .439 hitting percentage. UH hit well also, posting a .375 percentage. UCSB's Evan Patak and UH's Jim Clar each had nine kills in the opener. The first game swayed back and forth until UH took a 16-15 lead. UCSB would then reel off three-straight points to take control and played sideout the rest of the way to win, 30-26. It was all UH in game two as the Warriors hit a sizzling .536 and held UCSB to just .235 hitting. UH breezed to a 30-20 win in game two. From then on, it was all Gauchos. UCSB hit .475 in game three, and the Warriors fizzled with a -.212 hitting percentage in game four. Patak slammed down a match-high 18 kills and was nasty from the service line, sending seven aces past the Warriors. Bryan Berman and Theo Brunner had 17 and 12 kills, respectively. Brunner and Patak each had five total blocks and Berman posted a team-high eight digs. The Warriors were led by Mark Ribeiro's career-high 16 kills while Clar added 14.

Down two games to none, UCSB came back to take a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Hawai'i Feb. 9 at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors took the first two sets 30-24 and 30-28 only to have the Gauchos battle back to win the final three sets 30-26, 30-28 and 17-15. Evan Patak led all players with 32 kills while Theo Brunner slammed down 18 and David Kennedy added 10. Setter Bart Kowalski dished out 73 assists and Patak and Ben Brockman each dug 17 balls, career-highs for both players. UCSB, which was out-blocked 25-11.5, got seven blocks out of Brunner. The Gauchos hit a season-low .232, while the Warriors were a tad bit better at .237. UH was led offensively by Jim Clar's 22 kills. Lauri Hakala posted 14 while Jacob Schkud added 11. Setter Brian Beckwith handed out 60 assists. Middle blocker Dio Dante led the Warriors up front with 11 blocks. Libero Eric Kalima was all over the court chasing down a career-high 18 digs.

Unranked UC San Diego enters the week with a 4-7 overall record and is 11th in the MPSF with a 1-6 mark. The Triton's lone league win was a 3-1 topping of USC on Jan. 19. However, UCSD's four wins are its most since 2004 when the Tritons had eight. After losing three straight, UCSD is coming off a 3-1 victory vs. Rutgers-Newark in the consolation match of the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass. Senior setter Brooks Dierdorff has 3,203 career assists, 105 behind UCSD's all-time mark. Jason Spangler leads the team offensively, averaging 3.51 kills per game. Will Ehrman is just behind with a 3.45 average. Eric Leserman is the team leader in digs, averaging 3.10 per game. The Tritons are hitting just .216 on the season.

No. 13 Long Beach State is 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the MPSF and will play at No. 9 Cal State Northridge Thursday before visiting Santa Barbara. The 49ers are coming off a sweep over Cal Baptist on Feb. 9. LBSU has been solid offensively, out-hitting opponents .289 to .266. The 49ers are averaging 14.49 kills per game to opponents' 10.95 kills per game. Four attackers are hitting .300 or better, led by Dan Alexander (.400). Three players are also averaging at least 2.00 kills per game, led by Paul Lotman (5.17 kpg). The 49ers have also been out-playing their opponents on defense as they are averaging 8.49 digs per game compared to a 6.24 digs per game average for their opponents. Dustin Watten leads the squad with 2.42 digs per game.

Evan Patak has been named both the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Week as well as the Molten Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Player of the Week. Patak helped lead the Gauchos to their first two-match series sweep of Hawai'i since 1987 on Feb. 8-9. In their first match, a five-game UCSB win, Patak landed a match-high 32 kills on 71 attempts, good for a hitting percentage of .268. It was his fourth 30+-kill performance of the season. The senior opposite hitter added a career-high 17 digs as well as three aces in the victory. The 32 kills and 17 digs made for Patak's second double-double of the year. During the following night's four-game triumph, Patak slammed 18 more kills (a match-high) on 42 attempts for a .286 hitting percentage, while adding five digs, five blocks, and seven aces. For the weekend, Patak averaged 5.56 kills, 1.11 aces, 2.44 digs, and 7.06 points per game, while hitting .274. Patak has now won the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Week honor three times in his career (3/1/04 and 1/31/05). It is the eighth time overall a Gaucho has won the award. Patak shares the MPSF honor with Pacific's Pekka Seppanen, a junior outside hitter. It is the second time this season that Patak has received the league award (1/15) and he is the first repeat winner this year.

For the second time this season, UCSB is ranked third, up one spot from last week's AVCA poll. The Gauchos were also third in the Jan. 29 rankings. UCSB has been ranked second, its highest-ever, on two occasions in the AVCA poll, most recently on Jan. 23, 2001.

Gauchos among the national statistics leaders:
Ben Brockman: 20th in digs per game (2.09)
Theo Brunner: 5th in hitting (.525); 20th in blocks per game (1.18)
David Kennedy: 19th in hitting (.440)
Bart Kowalski: 4th in assists per game (13.70)
Evan Patak: 1st in aces per game (1.041); 3rd in points per game (7.42); 4th in kills per game (5.98)
UCSB: 3rd in hitting (.364)

Gauchos among the MPSF statistics leaders (MPSF matches only):
Bryan Berman: 9th in aces per game (0.26)
Ben Brockman: 9th in digs per game (2.24)
Theo Brunner: 3rd in hitting (.517); 9th in blocks per game (1.21)
David Kennedy: 7th in hitting (.455)
Bart Kowalski: 2nd in assists per game (13.68)
Evan Patak: 1st in aces per game (1.08); 1st in points per game (7.73); 2nd in kills per game (6.23)
UCSB: 1st in hitting (.359); 1st in kills per game (16.49); 1st in aces per game (1.85); 2nd in assists per game (15.59); 3rd in digs per game (9.79); 9th in blocks per game (2.67)

In his 29th season as the head coach of the UCSB men's volleyball program, Ken Preston needs just four more wins for 500 in his career. Currently, Preston holds an overall record of 496-355 (.583) since taking over the reigns in 1979. Preston has 18 winning seasons under his belt, including eight campaigns with 20 or more victories.

Three Gauchos have recorded double-doubles this season:
Evan Patak (2): 32 kills, 17 digs at Hawai'i (2/8); 40 kills, 13 digs at Pacific (1/12)
Aaron Richman (1): 14 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)
Armen Zakarian (1): 11 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)

For the Pepperdine match on Feb. 3, UCSB's Robertson Gymnasium hosted 1,068 fans. It was the highest attendance figure since 1,422 packed in on Jan. 27, 2001 vs. Stanford. The attendance record for a UCSB match is 4,310 against UCLA on April 22, 1983 in the Thunderdome. The Robertson Gymnasium record is 2,935 vs. UCLA on April 12, 1997.

UCSB received National Letters of Intent from four high school seniors during the NCAA's early signing period in November. Ben Douglas (Mountain View, Calif.), Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Blaine Nielsen (Corona del Mar, Calif.), and Jake Scalise (San Marcos, Calif.) committed to play for the Gauchos in 2008. Douglas is a 6'6" outside hitter from Mountain View High School. A member of the Spartans' varsity team since he was a freshman, Douglas is in his fourth year with the Bay to Bay Volleyball Club. Menzel is a local standout from San Marcos High School. The 6'5" opposite/outside hitter is a two-time All-CIF honoree and a 2006 All-Channel League First Team member. A versatile athlete, Menzel is also a first team all-league basketball player and a wide receiver on the Royals' football team. Menzel's sister, Erica, played for the Gauchos' women's squad from 2000-03 and was a two-time All-Big West First Team pick as well as an all-region selection in 2002. Nielsen is a 6'4" outside hitter out of Corona del Mar High School. A 2006 All-Pacific Coast League selection, Nielsen captained the Sea Kings to a league title and a second place finish in CIF Division II. In 2005, Corona del Mar won the CIF crown. At the club level, Nielsen captained Balboa Bay to Junior Olympics bronze medals in 2005 and 2006. Scalise is a 6'2" outside hitter from Mission Hills High School of the Division II Valley League. An all-league first team and San Diego County all-section pick, Scalise was also tabbed Mission Hills' MVP. An excellent student, he is a two-time member of the league's all-academic team.