March 27, 2007

No. 5 UCSB Plays at Cal Baptist, Hosts No. 11 Pacific and Stanford

March 27, 2007

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The Schedule
Tuesday, March 27 - 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB at Cal Baptist
Van Dyne Gym
Riverside, Calif.

Friday, March 30 - 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB vs. No. 11 Pacific
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Saturday, March 31 - 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB vs. Stanford
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Against Cal Baptist
Last Meeting: 3/14/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, CBU 0 (30-25, 30-24, 30-22)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2006 Series: UCSB led 1-0
All-Time Series Record: Tied 3-3
Last CBU Win: 3/23/04 at UCSB
Result: CBU 3, UCSB 0 (30-19, 30-27, 30-24)
Current Streak: UCSB two wins

Against Pacific:
Last Meeting: 1/12/07 at Pacific
Result: UCSB 3, Pacific 2 (29-1, 29-31, 30-23, 33-31, 15-12)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2006 Series: Tied 1-1
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 12-10
Last Pacific Win: 3/11/06 at Pacific
Result: Pacific 3, UCSB 0 (30-27, 30-22, 30-28)
Current Streak: UCSB one win

Against Stanford:
Last Meeting: 1/13/07 at Stanford
Result: UCSB 3, Stanford 0 (30-21, 30-25, 30-21)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2006 Series: UCSB led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 40-22
Last Stanford Win: 1/30/04 at Stanford
Result: Stanford 3, UCSB 2 (28-30, 30-25, 30-28, 19-30, 16-14)
Current Streak: UCSB six wins

Brunner Hits .786 in Sweep Over Cal Baptist
UCSB ended a four-match home stand March 14 with a 3-0 sweep over Cal Baptist at Robertson Gymnasium. Middle blocker Theo Brunner hit .786 with 11 kills as the victory snapped a three-match skid for the Gauchos. Scores of the match were 30-25, 30-24, and 30-22. Brunner, ranked fourth in the country in hitting percentage, was on fire as he pounded the 11 kills with no errors in 14 attempts. He also chipped in with three blocks, a pair of service aces, and a dig. In the opening game, Brunner put away all five of his attempts for kills. Bryan Berman had 10 kills, three aces, and three digs for the Gauchos, while Evan Patak finished with nine kills, five of those coming in the third set. Patak, the nation's leading ace specialist, served up three on the night as UCSB held a 9-0 advantage from the service line. Setter Max Klineman amassed 37 assists and helped the Gauchos to a .371 attack percentage for the match. Libero Ben Brockman had a co-match-best eight digs. UCSB set a new single season record as the Gauchos have aced opponents 175 times to date. The old record was 168, set in 2005. The Lancers got a match-high 19 kills out of Donald Baliaba and another 11 from Yukai Sun. Baliaba equaled Brockman with eight digs and Ralph Asmar stuffed five UCSB attacks. Setter Eric Plunkett racked up 41 assists. CBU hit .289 for the match and out-dug the Gauchos 27-19. Cal Baptist out-blocked UCSB 7.0 to 3.5 in the first game as Asmar had four on his own, but the Gauchos held an 8.5 to 8.0 edge when all was said and done.

The Top-Ranked Cal Baptist Lancers
Cal Baptist, the top-ranked NAIA squad in the nation, enters Tuesday's match with a 16-9 record. In its last two contests, the Lancers lost, 3-1, against IPFW March 17 and blanked Penn State, a team that defeated UCSB in five games, March 16. Donald Baliaba was tabbed the NAIA Player of the Week March 20 as he totaled 70 kills and hit .576 over three matches, which included a 19-kill performance against UCSB March 14. Baliaba tied a school record with 32 kills in the loss against IPFW. As a team, CBU is out-hitting opponents .299-.253. The Lancers have been potent from the service line as well, holding a 146-101 advantage in aces. Cal Baptist is the three-time defending NAIA national champion.

Pacific Heights
Pacific enters the week with a 14-11 overall record and sits in sixth place in the MPSF with an 8-8 mark. The Tigers dropped two spots in this week's AVCA poll, falling from ninth to 11th. Last week, Pacific split a pair of non-league matches in Muncie, Ind., defeating Quincy 3-1 and losing to Ball State in five games. The Tigers took the first two games against Ball State, but the Cardinals came back to win the next three. Twice this season Pacific has strung together four-match win streaks, the most recent ending on March 10 with a 3-0 loss vs. Long Beach. The Tigers are 8-3 at home, but just 4-6 on the road. Pekka Seppanen and Matt Cornell lead the team offensively, averaging 4.07 and 3.51 kills per game, respectively. Setter Garrett Morales ranks fourth in the MPSF in assists, averaging 12.74 per game in league contests. Defensively, the Tigers rank third in the federation in digs as five players have excavated over 100 balls. Pacific is hitting at a .275 clip overall, but that number drops to .262 in league matches.

Seeing Red
Stanford opens its week of play with a 3-19 overall record and a 2-14 slate in the MPSF, equaling it with UC San Diego for 11th place in the league. The Cardinal has posted wins against UC San Diego (3-2, 3-0) and Quincy (3-0). Prior to playing at UCSB Saturday, Stanford takes on Cal State Northridge in the Valley Friday. It will be the first match the Cardinal has played since defeating the UCSD Tritons March 10. Statistically speaking, Stanford is hitting a lowly .196 while opponents are swinging at .330. Evan Romero leads the team offensively, averaging 3.76 kills a game. Matt Ceran is just behind at 3.57. Setter Kawika Shoji has 624 assists, good for 8.43 per game. Shoji and Ceran both have over 100 digs and are averaging 1.61 and 1.54 per game, respectively.

Poll Position
Here's a week-by-week look at where UCSB has stood in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season:
•March 26 - 5th; •March 19 - 5th; •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 (.535)
•David Kennedy: 19th in hitting (.425)
•Bart Kowalski: 9th in assists (12.93)
•Evan Patak: 1st in aces (1.080), 1st in points (6.98), 4th in kills (5.53)
•UCSB: 4th in hitting (.358)

In the MPSF
Gauchos among the MPSF statistics leaders (MPSF matches only):
•Bryan Berman: 7th in aces (.33)
•Ben Brockman: 6th in digs (2.04)
•Theo Brunner: 2nd in hitting (.509)
•David Kennedy: 4th in hitting (.440)
•Bart Kowalski: 5th in assists (12.70)
•Evan Patak: 1st in aces (1.14), 1st in points (7.29), 2nd in kills (5.73)
•UCSB: 1st in hitting (.356), 1st in aces (1.97), 3rd in kills (16.00), 3rd in assists (15.08), 10th in digs (8.84), 10th in blocks (2.57)

Ace (west of) Ventura
UCSB has been dangerous from the service line all season, collecting a single season record 175 aces to date. The Gauchos lead the MPSF with an average of 1.97 aces per game in league matches. Evan Patak has a school single season record 94 aces this year and continues to lead the nation in that category at 1.080 per game. The next closest player in total aces is Paul Carroll of Pepperdine, who has 44, 50 less than Patak. Patak holds UCSB's career ace record with 239. In comparison, teammate Bryan Berman is second on the list with 87. Patak and Berman have accounted for 120 of UCSB's 175 aces this season, 69%. Opponents have aced the Gauchos 110 times.

Milestone/Record Watch
Evan Patak needs 78 kills for 2,000 in his career...Patak has 381 career digs, 19 short of 400...Bart Kowalski needs 14 assists to move into the top five all-time at UCSB...Kowalski needs 16 assists for 2,800...Bryan Berman is 13 aces short of 100 for his career, which would make him just the second Gaucho in history with triple-digit aces (Patak is the other)...Berman needs 38 more digs for 500 in his career...At .535, Theo Brunner is on pace to smash his own single season hitting record of .486, set in 2005...At .358, UCSB is on pace to break the single season hitting mark of .348, set in 2002...The Gauchos set a new single season record for aces this year...Ken Preston collected his 500th career win this season.

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 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.

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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