No. 14 UCSB Faces Crucial MPSF Weekend at No. 4 BYU

March 27, 2008

The Schedule
Friday, March 28, 6 p.m. (PT)
No. 14 UCSB at No. 4 BYU
George Albert Smith Fieldhouse
Provo, Utah
Live Online Video Broadcast: BYUCougars.com

Saturday, March 29, 6 p.m. (PT)
No. 14 at No. 4 BYU
George Albert Smith Fieldhouse
Provo, Utah
Live Online Video Broadcast: BYUCougars.com

Against BYU
Last Meeting: 3/10/07 at UCSB
Result: BYU 3, UCSB 0 (30-28, 30-28, 30-26)
2008 Series: Have not met
2007 Series: BYU led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: BYU leads 22-15
Last UCSB Win: 4/23/05 at BYU (MPSF Tournament)
Result: UCSB 3, BYU 2 (30-25, 30-21, 29-31, 23-30, 15-13)
Current Streak: BYU four 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: 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. Make sure you have Java installed and enabled.

Gauchos Handily Take Down NAIA's No. 2 Cal Baptist
A strong attack led 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara to a 3-0 drubbing of Cal Baptist on Mar. 25 at Robertson Gymnasium in non-conference men's volleyball action. The Gauchos dominated in almost every statistical category en route to the 30-21, 32-30, 30-19 victory. UCSB hit .381 for the match while Cal Baptist, the No. 2 NAIA team in the nation, swung at just .200. The Gauchos really amped it up in the third game as they hit .619 with 15 kills and two errors in 21 attacks. Jeff Menzel led UCSB with 12 kills and was followed by Phil Mathews with 10 and Scott Slaughter with nine. Slaughter, who had missed seven straight matches due to an injury, hit a match-high .727 while adding an assist, a service ace, two digs, and a career-high seven blocks. On defense, libero Ben Brockman had eight digs. Santa Barbara aced Cal Baptist eight times and out-blocked the Lancers 12.5 to 3.0. Defensively, the Gauchos collected 33 digs to Cal Baptist's 22. For the Lancers, Donald Baliaba posted a match-high 16 kills. Adiel Tiedjop tallied 14 kills and five digs, while Corey Spence registered eight digs. Cal Baptist hit .000 in the opening game and a lackluster .087 in game three. The second game provided the most action as it was tied a total of 18 times with seven lead changes. It was the first time UCSB had played an actual match since Mar. 15 when it was swept at home by Pepperdine.

The Early Playoff Picture
The top eight squads in the MPSF make postseason play with the No. 7 finisher taking on No. 8 in a play-in to the MPSF Tournament. The top-seeded team receives a bye in the MPSF quarterfinal round. If the regular season ended prior to this weekend's matches, UCSB would miss the postseason as it currently sits in 10th place. However, the race is close and the only two teams that have been virtually eliminated from the postseason are UC San Diego and Pacific.

Double S Returns to the Lineup
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Scott Slaughter played against Cal Baptist on Mar. 25 after missing the previous seven contests due to an elbow injury. The last time Slaughter saw floor time was on Feb. 15 vs. UC Santa Cruz. He made the most of his return to the starting lineup, posting a triplet of career-highs including kills (9), blocks (7), and points (14.5). He also hit .727 (9-1-11) while adding an assist, an ace, and a pair of digs.

You're On the List
As a team, UCSB has broken into a couple of school single match top ten lists this year. The Gauchos' 17 service aces against Pacific on Jan. 5 is the most in the history of the program. The previous high was 16, set against Hawai'i in 1991. In addition, Santa Barbara posted 80 digs in the Feb. 1 match vs. Hawai'i in Honolulu. That number ranks fourth all-time for a single match.

Injuries Up the Middle
Even with middle blocker Scott Slaughter returning to the lineup recently, the Gauchos are still without middle Sam Moisenco, who ranks eighth in the MPSF and 16th in the country in blocks per game. Moisenco last played on Feb. 29 at UC San Diego and has missed the team's last five matches due to a left ankle injury.

Thobe or Not Thobe
Keeping with the middle blocker theme, Matt Thobe played in all four games at Cal State Northridge on Mar. 5. 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 11 matches and 24 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 started at libero in UCSB's first 16 matches. However, Brockman has gotten the starting nod in the team's last five contests. He kicked off his play with 17 digs at Long Beach State on Mar. 1 and followed that with 13 more at Northridge on Mar. 5. Since he's been starting, Brockman has averaged 3.12 digs per game over 17 games.

Vince Hints
True freshman setter Vince DeVany got his first career start at Long Beach State on Mar. 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 has now started at setter in UCSB's last five matches. Originally scheduled to redshirt the season, he got his first collegiate playing time on Jan. 26 vs. Pacific. He recorded his first career kill on his first career attempt in the match and added four assists in the win. Devany and Jeff Menzel are the only true freshmen to play this season for the Gauchos. Ben Douglas, Blaine Nielsen, Jordan Nuni, Jake Scalise, and Alex Williams are redshirting the season.

The Man in the Irons Mask
Redshirt freshman Cullen Irons produced some career numbers in the Long Beach State match on Mar. 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. More recently, he totaled a career-best four digs against Pepperdine on Mar. 15.

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 19 of 21 matches and has 780 attack attempts this season, 327 more than the next Gaucho on the list. With an average of 4.87 kills per game, Menzel is ranked fourth nationally and third in the MPSF. He also ranks fourth in the league and sixth in the nation with 5.54 points per game. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills in all but one match and 20 or more nine times. He's had 30 or more swings in 17 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 12 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). The 2007 All-American is averaging 3.6 kills, 4.3 points, and just under one block per game.

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!

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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