February 29, 2008

No. 12 Gauchos Travel to UC San Diego and No. 2 Long Beach State for MPSF Tilts

Feb. 29, 2008

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The Schedule
Friday, Feb. 29, 7 p.m.
No. 12 UCSB at UC San Diego
RIMAC Arena
La Jolla, Calif.
Live Stats: ucsdtritons.com

Saturday, March 1, 7 p.m.
No. 12 UCSB at No. 2 Long Beach State
Walter Pyramid
Long Beach, Calif.
Online Audio: longbeachstate.com
Gametracker: UCSBGauchos.com

Against UC San Diego
Last Meeting: 2/15/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, UCSD 0 (30-21, 30-19, 30-27)
2008 Series: Have not met
2007 Series: UCSB led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 22-1
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 six wins

Against Long Beach State
Last Meeting: 2/17/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, LBSU 0 (30-19, 30-28, 30-19)
2008 Series: Have not met
2007 Series: UCSB led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 44-32
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 two wins

KCSB Gets in on the Action
Starting with the Jan. 25 tilt against Stanford, KCSB 91.9 FM will begin live broadcasts of select matches. Some matches will be broadcast at 91.9 FM, some will be online broadcasts, and others will be available via both mediums. Check the broadcast schedule at KCSB.org for dates.

Track the Matches Online
For the first time ever, UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online with Gametracker. All home matches and select road contests will be included. Just log on to UCSBGauchos.com, go to the men's volleyball schedule, and click on the Gametracker link for the match you're interested in. You can follow each point and even view player bios. Gametracker is free of charge and works on PCs and Macs. You just need to have Flash and Java installed and enabled.

UCSB Bageled at UC Irvine
UCSB had its three-match win streak broken Feb. 23 as it fell 3-0 against reigning national champion UC Irvine at the Bren Center. Scores were 30-23, 30-25, and 30-28 in favor of the Anteaters.The Gauchos got 11 kills, six digs, and a career high eight blocks from Jeff Menzel. However, the Gauchos hit just .134 (39-24-112) for the match. Theo Brunner, Mike Fisher, and Phil Mathews all had seven kills for UCSB. Mathews had a team best nine digs, while Brunner matched a career high with eight blocks. UC Irvine was paced by Jon Stellar with a match high 16 kills. Setter Ryan Ammerman totaled 41 assists, three service aces, eight digs, and three blocks in the win. Libero Brent Asuka had a match high 13 digs. The Gauchos were dominant on the block, holding a 16.5 to 7.5 advantage.

Gauchos Handily Take Down UCLA in Four Games
Jeff Menzel ripped a match high 21 kills as UCSB upset UCLA 3-1 Feb. 20 at Rob Gym. Game scores were 30-21, 31-29, 25-30, and 30-24. Offensively, Santa Barbara had one of its strongest matches of the season, hitting a solid .341 (63-18-132) over the four games. UCLA finished with a .253 (69-31-150) attack percentage. Menzel hit .341 and had nine digs and 21.5 points. Mike Runkle recorded a career high 15 kills and added two aces, 11 digs, three blocks, and 18.5 points. Middle blocker Theo Brunner totaled 12 kills, four blocks, and 15.5 points. The Bruins had four players with 10 or more kills. Sean O'Malley and Ryan Ratelle each had 16, Garrett Muagututia posted 13, and D.J. Stromath had 10. Libero Tony Ker racked up a match best 15 digs and setter Matt Wade had 61 assists. Dating back to last season, UCSB has won the last two match-ups between the squads as the Gauchos took a 3-1 victory over the Bruins in an MPSF Tournament quarterfinal match last April.

Movin' On Up
In the latest AVCA national poll (Feb. 25), the Gauchos are ranked 12th, their highest mark of the 2008 season. For the past two weeks, UCSB has also received votes in the Volleyball Magazine poll, but has not cracked the top-10 yet. Last season, Santa Barbara was ranked as high as third in the country.

Hope to be Movin' On Up
In 2007, UCSB set a school single season record with an impressive .363 attack percentage. Through 15 matches last season, the Gauchos were hitting .373. Through 15 contests this year, Santa Barbara is at .237. Individually, Theo Brunner is currently hitting a team best .354. At this point last season, he was swinging at a .528 clip.

More Brunner Banter
Middle Theo Brunner recorded the 1,000th kill of his career earlier this season, becoming just the 10th Gaucho in school history to reach the mark. He has had 10 or more kills in eight of 13 matches played, including a career high 25 vs. Hawai'i (2/2). Brunner also set new career highs this season with eight digs at UC Irvine (1/4) and 17 points at Hawai'i (2/2). He tied a career best with eight blocks on two occasions, the first at Pacific (2/9) and the second at UC Irvine (2/23).

Are You Experienced?
UCSB's starting lineup looks quite a bit different than it did last season. Of the regular starters this year, only senior middle Theo Brunner and junior setter Max Klineman have extensive collegiate playing experience. On the outside, senior Phil Mathews has played in 27 career matches, 15 of those coming this season. Junior Mike Runkle, also on the outside, had played in three matches prior to 2008. Sophomore middle Sam Moisenco played in eight matches as a freshman last season, while middle Scott Slaughter and libero Andy McGuire are both redshirt freshman. Finally, opposite Jeff Menzel is a true freshman.

We'll Take the Extra Day in February
After starting the season with a 2-6 record in the month of January, UCSB has gone 5-2 thus far in Feburary. Much of the improvement is due to hitting, not just UCSB's but opponent's as well. The Gauchos hit just .225 in January and are currently hitting .247 in February. Opponents have gone from .315 all the way down to .245. UCSB has also increased its kills per game average from 13.93 to 15.96 and its digs per game average from 8.71 to 12.04 since January. The Gauchos are 4-0 at Rob Gym in February.

Opposites Attract
True freshman Jeff Menzel has been the go-to guy on the UCSB attack. The opposite has led the Gauchos in swings in 13 of 15 matches and has posted team high kill totals in 10 contests. The Santa Barbara native has 580 attack attempts this season, 261 more than the next Gaucho on the list. With an average of 4.87 kills per game, Menzel is ranked fourth nationally and second in the MPSF. With 5.55 points per game, he is fifth in the country and third among conference players. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills 14 times and 20 or more in seven matches.

Runk Junk
Mike Runkle has been a factor on the court since moving from setter to outside hitter this season. He's had 10 or more kills in four of UCSB's last seven matches, including a career high 15 in the win over UCLA (2/20). He also added a career best 18.5 points in that match. Prior to this season, Runkle had just five career games to his credit, all of those coming in 2006 as he did not see any playing time in 2007.

Dandy Andy
Redshirt freshman Andy McGuire has started at libero in every match this season and is averaging 2.47 digs per game, ranked 15th in the country. On four occasions he has totaled 10 or more digs, including a career high 20 vs. Hawai'i (2/1). McGuire holds a .968 reception percentage with just 15 errors in 474 attempts.

Redshirt? I Don't Need no Stinking Redshirt!
True freshman setter Vince DeVany made his collegiate debut Jan. 26 against Pacific at Rob Gym. Originally scheduled to redshirt the 2008 season, Devany dressed against the Tigers and recorded his first career kill on his first career attempt. He also added four assists in the win. Devany and opposite Jeff Menzel are the only true freshman that have seen the floor so far for the Gauchos. Ben Douglas, Blaine Nielsen, Jordan Nuni, Jake Scalise, and Alex Williams are still scheduled to redshirt this year.

Preston Will Retire Following the 2008 Season
Ken Preston, easily the winningest coach in UCSB men's volleyball history and one of the winningest active coaches in the nation, will retire following the 2008 season, his 30th as head of the Gaucho program. Preston will remain a member of the UCSB Athletics Department through the end of 2008 and will assist in the search for his successor in the spring. Preston began his UCSB head coaching career in 1979. In his 29 seasons, he has compiled a 506-364 overall record for a winning percentage of .582. He has guided the program to 21 of its 29 seasons of .500 or better, including 19 winning seasons. His teams have qualified for 19 postseason appearances and in 1988, Preston's squad advanced to the NCAA Final Four and then the NCAA Championship match. In 2007, UCSB had one of its most successful seasons in several years with a 20-14 overall record and a 14-8 mark in the MPSF. The Gauchos, who climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings, posted a victory over visiting UCLA in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament to cap the campaign. Preston recorded his 500th career win with a victory at IPFW in March. In addition, two players - Theo Brunner and Evan Patak - were named AVCA First Team All-Americans. Prior to coming to UCSB, Preston coached at Cal Poly, Wright State (Dayton, Ohio), and Westmont College in Santa Barbara. In addition to his collegiate experience, Preston has spent extensive time on the international circuit, serving in both head and assistant coach capacities at the Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Games, and the World University Games. A search for Preston's successor will take place in the spring. Preston will be a key member of the committee assigned to select the new coach.

New Mugs on the Coaching Staff
Head coach Ken Preston welcomes a pair new faces to his 2008 coaching staff. Most recently, Lee Nelson joined the Gauchos as associate head coach. Nelson replaced Aaron Mansfield, who left this summer to try out for the U.S. National Team as a libero. Nelson came from Fresno State, where he was the top assistant with the Bulldog women's program. He played at UCSB from 1985-89 and was also an assistant coach under Preston from 1997-99. Lee graduated from UCSB in 1991. He was raised in Santa Barbara and is a 1984 grad of Santa Barbara High School. Ricardo DoMonte was added to the staff during the summer of 2007. A native Brazilian, he coached the UCSB men's volleyball club team to a national championship in 2007. Since 2002, doMonte has served as the Volleyball Director for the Page Youth Center/Santa Barbara Boy's Volleyball Club. He has coached elite level players indoors and on the beach in both Brazil and United States, and has worked at several UCSB volleyball camps.

Gauchos Pick Up Four During Fall Signing Period
UCSB picked up four high school seniors during the 2007 fall signing period. Outside hitters Grant Goswiller, Mark Liebermann, and Matt Townsend, as well as middle blocker/opposite Jake Piva will don the blue and gold for the 2009 season. Goswiller, a 6-foot-3 outside, hails from Coto de Caza, Calif. and Tesoro High School. He has also played club ball for Balboa Bay and OC Riptides. Goswiller was an all-tournament selection at the 2007 Junior Olympics (17 Open) in Atlanta. Outside of volleyball, he was a member of the Lionsheart Community Service Club and the Invisible Children's Club. In the classroom, Goswiller was a three-year Presidential Honor Roll member. Liebermann is from Newport Beach, Calif. and Newport Harbor High School. The 6-foot-5 outside was part of a Balboa Bay Volleyball Club squad that took first place at the 2007 Holiday Classic. Piva, a 6-foot-8 middle/opposite, is from Valencia, Calif. and won a CIF title with Valencia High School, a perennial powerhouse in the Foothill League. With Santa Monica Beach Club, he won a 2007 title in the Open Division and has twice been named all-tourney at Junior Olympics. Townsend is from Granada Hills, Calif. and plays for Chaminade College Prep. A four-year letterwinner, the 6-foot-4 outside has garnered First Team All-Mission League honors. In 2007, he was a member of the Southern California Volleyball Association Regional Team that competed at the Slovenia Global Challenge. Townsend won gold at the 2007 Junior Olympics (17 Open) and silver at the 2006 JOs (16 Open).

-- UCSBGauchos.com --

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