March 13, 2007

Gauchos Host Two Non-Conference Matches This Week

March 12, 2007

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The Schedule
Monday, March 12, 7 p.m.
No. 4 UCSB vs. No. 6 Penn State
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Wednesday, March 14, 7 p.m.
No. 4 UCSB vs. Cal Baptist
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Against Penn State
Last Meeting: 3/8/01 at Long Beach State (Beach Bash)
Result: UCSB 3, PSU 0 (30-26, 30-23, 30-22)
2007 Series: First meeting
2006 Series: Did not meet
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 7-4
Last PSU Win: 4/3/87 at UCSB (Santa Barbara Classic)
Result: PSU 3, UCSB 1 (5-15, 15-3, 15-5, 15-11)
Current Streak: UCSB three wins

Against Cal Baptist:
Last Meeting: 2/24/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, CBU 1 (30-24, 30-21, 27-30, 38-36)
2007 Series: First meeting
2006 Series: UCSB led 1-0
All-Time Series Record: CBU leads 3-2
Last CBU Win: 3/23/04 at UCSB
Result: CBU 3, UCSB 0 (30-19, 30-27, 30-24)
Current Streak: UCSB one win

BYU Sweeps UCSB for Second Straight Night
UCSB was defeated in three games by BYU Saturday, the second consecutive night that the Gauchos suffered a sweep at the hands of the Cougars. Scores of the match were 30-28, 30-28, and 30-26. UCSB lost its fifth straight MPSF match, while BYU won its fifth contest in a row. The first two games were fairly even, but the Cougars hit an impressive .714 in the third to put away the match. Overall, BYU hit at a .495 clip, while Santa Barbara swung at .364 for the match. UCSB was paced by opposite Evan Patak and middle Theo Brunner, who each contributed 13 kills. Patak and outside Bryan Berman combined for seven of UCSB's nine service aces, with Berman laying down four and Patak three. Brunner and setter Bart Kowalski each posted four blocks, while libero Ben Brockman had a team-best five digs on defense. Robby Stowell, the MPSF Player of the Week, recorded 19 kills and seven digs, both match-highs. Yosleyder Cala, the AVCA National Player of the Week, collected 12 kills and Ivan Perez followed with 11 and hit .667. Rodnei Santos hit .700 with eight kills and just one error in 10 attacks. The Cougars out-blocked the Gauchos 8.0 to 6.5 as Russell Holmes had five and Perez, Stowell, and Yamil Perez each had three.

BYU Opens Two-Match Series with Sweep Over UCSB
It was a showdown between the top-two offensive squads in the MPSF and BYU came out on top, defeating UCSB in three games Friday at Robertson Gymnasium. Scores of the match went 36-34, 30-23, and 30-26. Entering the match, UCSB led the MPSF in attack percentage at .360 and was followed closely by BYU at .355. However, the Gauchos struggled offensively, hitting .277 to the Cougars' .395. Santa Barbara got a match-co-high 12 kills out of Theo Brunner, who hit .647 for the match. Bryan Berman followed with 10 kills and a team-high four digs. He and David Kennedy each posted four blocks. Starting setter Bart Kowalski had 25 assists, while Max Klineman, who came in to the match in relief of Kowalski multiple times, had 17. For BYU, both Yosleyder Cala and Robby Stowell racked up 12 kills. Stowell and Ivan Perez each had seven digs, while Rodnei Santos tallied six blocks. Setter Yamil Perez ended up with 47 helpers.

Nittany Picking
Penn State, out of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA), enters the week with an 11-2 overall record and is a perfect 6-0 in EIVA play. The Nittany Lions have won their last 10 matches, including 3-0 sweeps over Mercyhurst and Rutgers-Newark last week. Their two losses came early on in the season against IPFW on Jan. 13 and BYU on Jan. 26, both in three games. In Friday's win over Mercyhurst, Max Holt tied a school record with six aces as the Lions have put down 10 or more aces in three of their last five matches. Alex Gutor leads PSU offensively with 191 kills and a .327 attack percentage. Ryan Walthall is averaging a team-high 2.67 digs per game and setter Luke Murray is averaging 13.11 assists per game. As a team, the Nittany Lions lead opponents in virtually every stat category. Most noticeable is that PSU is out-hitting its foes .339 to .212. Following its match against UCSB, Penn State remains in California to take on UC Irvine (3/14), Cal Baptist (3/16), and Long Beach State (3/17).

No. 1 Cal Baptist
Cal Baptist, ranked first nationally among NAIA teams, is the three-time defending national champion in the NAIA. The Lancers are 15-7 entering this week and are coming off a 2-1 performance last week with 3-1 wins over Quincy and Lewis and a five-game loss vs. Loyola-Chicago. CBU surprised many when it swept BYU, the NCAA's top-ranked team at the time, back on Feb. 13. CBU is 8-1 at home, but just 3-5 on the road this season. The Lancers have been tough at the net and at the service line, out-blocking opponents 207.5 to 162.0 and racking up 122 aces to opponents' 77. Shamsu Awudu is averaging a team-best 5.20 kills per game, while Donald Baliaba has 30 aces. Romain Vetter and Urs Gunthor are both averaging over a block per game at 1.32 and 1.19, respectively. Corey Spence is the team leader in digs at 1.83 per game, followed by Awudu at 1.61. Eric Plunkett, the Lancers' primary setter, averages 11.75 helpers a game.

Preston Joins Half-Grand Club
With a 3-0 sweep at IPFW March 3, UCSB head coach Ken Preston collected his 500th career victory. Preston holds an overall record of 500-360 since taking over the reigns in 1979. Preston has 18 winning seasons under his belt, including eight campaigns with 20 or more victories. He is UCSB's second active coach to eclipse the 500-win plateau at the school. Hall of Famer Kathy Gregory, who just completed her 32nd year as head coach of the women's volleyball program, picked up her 500th career win in 1995. Women's basketball coach Mark French has 500+ career wins, but not all have come at UCSB.

Poll Position
Here's a week-by-week look at where UCSB has stood in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season:
•March 12 - 4th; •March 5 - 4th; •Feb. 26 - 4th; •Feb. 19 - 3rd; •Feb. 12 - T 3rd; •Feb. 5 - 4th; •Jan. 29 - 3rd; •Jan. 22 - 4th; •Jan. 15 - 6th; •Jan. 8 - 6th; •Preseason - 6th.
The Gauchos have been ranked second, their highest-ever, on two occasions in the AVCA poll, most recently on Jan. 23, 2001.

On the National Front
Gauchos among the national statistics leaders (all matches):
•Theo Brunner: 4th in hitting (.527)
•David Kennedy: 16th in hitting (.427)
•Bart Kowalski: 10th in assists per game (12.93)
•Evan Patak: 1st in aces per game (1.083); 2nd in points per game (7.08); 3rd in kills per game (5.62)
•UCSB: 4th in hitting (.358)

In the MPSF
Gauchos among the MPSF statistics leaders (MPSF matches only):
•Bryan Berman: 6th in aces per game (0.33)
•Ben Brockman: 9th in digs per game (2.04)
•Theo Brunner: 2nd in hitting (.509)
•David Kennedy: 6th in hitting (.440)
•Bart Kowalski 5th in assists per game (12.70)
•Evan Patak: 1st in aces per game (1.14); 1st in points per game (7.29); 2nd in kills per game (5.73)
•UCSB: 1st in aces per game (1.97); 2nd in hitting (.356); 3rd in kills per game (16.00); 3rd in assists per game (15.08); 10th in digs per game (8.84); 11th in blocks per game (2.57)

Double-Double With Cheese
Three Gauchos have recorded a total of five 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 (2): 10 kills, 10 digs at UCLA (2/23); 14 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)
•Armen Zakarian (1): 11 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)

Grand Attendance
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 Grabs Four During Early Signing Period
Ben Douglas (Mountain View, Calif.), Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Blaine Nielsen (Corona del Mar, Calif.), and Jake Scalise (San Marcos, Calif.) have 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. 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.

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