Gauchos Return Home to Host MPSF Rivals USC and Pepperdine

March 11, 2008

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The Schedule
Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m.
No. 13 UCSB vs. No. 10 USC
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Radio: KCSB 91.9 FM
Online Broadcast: KCSB.org
Gametracker: UCSBGauchos.com

Saturday, March 15, 7 p.m.
No. 13 UCSB vs. No. 5 Pepperdine
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Gametracker: UCSBGauchos.com

Against USC
Last Meeting: 1/11/08 at USC
Result: USC 3, UCSB 0 (30-23, 30-26, 30-19)
2008 Series: USC leads 1-0
2007 Series: UCSB led 3-0
All-Time Series Record: Tied 44-44
Last UCSB Win: 4/11/07 at USC
Result: UCSB 3, USC 0 (30-24, 30-15, 30-25)
Current Streak: USC one win

Against Pepperdine
Last Meeting: 1/9/08 at PEPP
Result: PEPP 3, UCSB 1 (30-26, 30-23, 27-30, 30-22)
2008 Series: PEPP leads 1-0
2007 Series: PEPP led 3-0
All-Time Series Record: PEPP leads 60-28
Last UCSB Win: 2/15/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, PEPP 2 (26-30, 30-27, 37-35, 20-30, 15-13)
Current Streak: PEPP five wins

KCSB Gets in on the Action
KCSB 91.9 FM and KCSB.org will be broadcasting several of UCSB's remaining regular season matches including: Wednesday, Mar. 12 vs. USC (radio and online), Saturday, Apr. 5 vs. UC Irvine (online only), Friday, Apr. 11 vs. Long Beach State (radio and online), and Saturday, Apr. 12 against UC San Diego (online only). Other matches may be added, so be sure to check the broadcast schedule at KCSB.org.

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, keep track of player statistics, and view player bios. Gametracker is free of charge and works on PCs and Macs.

Gauchos Fall 3-1 at Cal State Northridge
UCSB lost its fourth straight match on March 5 as Cal State Northridge handed the Gauchos a 3-1 defeat at the Matadome. CSUN won the opening game 30-25. UCSB came back to take game two by the same score, but the Matadors hit almost .600 over games three and four to take 30-17 and 30-23 wins. The Matadors held advantages in almost every statistical category including kills (71-51), attack percentage (.340-.286), service aces (11-1), and digs (47-37). The Gauchos out-blocked Northridge 12 to 9. Santa Barbara was led by Theo Brunner, who registered 14 kills and hit .650. Jeff Menzel had 13 kills, while Matt Thobe set new career highs with six kills, seven blocks, and 9.5 points. Libero Ben Brockman totaled 13 digs. For CSUN, Isaac Kneubuhl led all players with 22 kills, matching his career high. Eric Vance got his third double-double of the season with 19 kills and 10 digs. Cody Loe had 14 kills and Mike Gaudino added 11. All four hit over .300, with Kneubuhl and Gaudino coming in over .400. Gaudino and Vance were hot at the service line as well, posting four aces each. Ali'i Keohohou had a match best 14 digs. With game one tied at 3-3, the Matadors won 12 of the next 16 points to take a 15-7 lead. UCSB got back to within two points four times, the last coming at 27-25. A Gaucho attack error and two Matador kills gave Northridge the 30-25 victory. UCSB started strong in the second game and ended up hitting .441 in the frame. The Gauchos led for much of the game, which saw the score tied 14 times. With the score knotted at 24-24, UCSB took a timeout and came back to the floor to score two straight points on a Brunner kill and a triple block by Thobe, Vince DeVany, and Mike Runkle. After a Menzel kill put UCSB up 28-25, the Matadors took a timeout. After the break, the Gauchos put the game away via a Northridge hitting error and another kill from Menzel. Games three and four were owned by the Matadors. After hitting .130 in game one and .194 in game two, they turned it up several notches and hit .600 in the third frame and .588 in the fourth.Northridge got off to an early 5-1 lead in the third game and never looked back. It was the same story in the final set as the Matadors never trailed in the game. Four straight points on a Gaucho service error and three consecutive aces by Vance put CSUN up 23-15. From there, Santa Barbara closed the gap to four on two occasions, the last at 26-22 following a kill by Menzel. Vance had three kills the rest of the way to ice the win for the Matadors. CSUN has defeated UCSB three times this season, but the Gauchos own a 42-30 lead in the all-time series.

It Must be the Shoes
The men's volleyball team collected almost 200 pairs of shoes during its shoe drive on Feb. 20. On the night of the UCLA match at Robertson Gymnasium, 197 pairs of shoes and sneakers were donated. All of the product will in turn be given to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that distributes shoes to people and places in need on five continents. Many thanks to those that contributed!

Injuries Up the Middle
The Gauchos are dealing with a couple of injuries to its middle blocking corps. Sophomore Sam Moisenco, who ranks eighth in the MPSF in blocks per game, is out with a left ankle problem and has missed UCSB's last two matches. Redshirt freshman Scott Slaughter is nursing a right elbow injury and has not played since Feb. 15 against UC Santa Cruz.

Thobe or Not Thobe
Middle blocker Matt Thobe played in all four games at CSUN last week. The junior estabished new career highs with six kills, seven blocks, and 9.5 points. He also hit .455 with only one miscue in 11 swings. Thobe did not see any action in 2007 and played in just 17 games as a redshirt freshman in 2006. This season, he's contributed in nine matches and 19 games.

Give Me a Brock, Man
Senior Ben Brockman spent most of last season as the starting libero for UCSB. This year, redshirt freshman Andy McGuire has been the primary libero in all but two matches. Brockman has gotten the starting nod in UCSB's last two matches - at Cal State Northridge and at Long Beach State. Playing in all five games at LBSU, he registered a season high 16 digs, just one short of his career best. He also added a career high three assists in the loss. Against the Matadors, he had 13 scoops and a .962 reception percentage with just one error in 25 tries.

Vince Hints
True freshman setter Vince DeVany got his first career start at Long Beach State on March 1 and he didn't disappoint. Devany recorded a pair of career highs with 60 assists and eight digs in the five-game match. He got his second career start at Northridge last week and collected 29 assists, two digs, and three blocks.

The Man in the Irons Mask
Redshirt freshman Cullen Irons produced some career numbers in the Long Beach State match on March 1. He collected six kills and five blocks, both career bests. Irons hit 1.000 and added an assist, an ace, and 9.5 points.

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 30 career matches, 18 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.

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 16 of 18 matches and has 684 attack attempts this season, 280 more than the next Gaucho on the list. With an average of 4.80 kills per game, Menzel is ranked fourth nationally and third in the MPSF. With 4.71 kills per game, he is second in the MPSF and third in the country. He also ranks third in the league and fifth in the nation with 5.35 points per game. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills 17 times and 20 or more in eight matches.

Brunner Banter
Middle blocker 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 11 of 16 matches played, including a career high 26 at Long Beach State (3/1). He also had a career best 28.5 points in that match. Brunner also set a new career high this season with eight digs at UC Irvine (1/4) and tied a career best with eight blocks on two occasions, the first at Pacific (2/9) and the second at UC Irvine (2/23).

Dandy Andy
Redshirt freshman Andy McGuire has started at libero in 16 of 18 matches this season and is averaging 2.30 digs per game, ranked 17th 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 .964 reception percentage with just 18 errors in 500 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 began his UCSB head coaching career in 1979. In 29 seasons, he 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. A search for Preston's successor will take place in the spring. Preston will remain on staff through 2008 and 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).

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