No. 5 UCSB Wraps Up Regular Season at No. 12 USC and No. 1 Pepperdine

No. 5 UCSB Wraps Up Regular Season at No. 12 USC and No. 1 Pepperdine

April 10, 2007

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The Schedule
Wednesday, April 11, 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB at No. 12 USC
Galen Center
Los Angeles, Calif.

Saturday, April 14, 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB at No. 1 Pepperdine
Firestone Fieldhouse
Malibu, Calif.
Broadcast live at

Against USC
Last Meeting: 1/31/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, USC 0 (30-16, 30-16, 30-18)
2007 Series: UCSB leads 2-0
2006 Series: UCSB led 2-0
All-Time Series: Tied 43-43
Last USC Win: 1/8/05 at UCSB
Result: USC 3, UCSB 0 (30-27, 30-26, 30-24)
Current Streak: UCSB six wins

Against Pepperdine
Last Meeting: 2/3/07 at UCSB
Result: Pepperdine 3, UCSB 0 (32-30, 33-31, 30-18)
2007 Series: Pepperdine leads 1-0
2006 Series: Tied 1-1
All-Time Series: Pepperdine leads 52-32
Last UCSB Win: 2/15/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, Pepperdine 2 (26-30, 30-27, 37-35, 20-30, 15-13)
Current Streak: Pepperdine two wins

Gauchos Blank Matadors, Patak Records 2,000th Career Kill
In its lone match last week, UCSB swept Cal State Northridge on April 6 at Robertson Gymnasium. Scores of the match were 30-24, 31-29, and 30-21. Opposite Evan Patak recorded a match-high 25 kills to put him over 2,000 for his career. Patak hit .595 on the night with just three errors in 37 swings. He also added two service aces and a dig and recorded a match-best 27 points. Theo Brunner swung at .727 with nine kills and one error in 11 attempts. He also had a match-high four blocks as the Gauchos held a 5.5 to 2.0 advantage over the Matadors in that category. Outside Armen Zakarian hit .600 with seven kills while collecting a match-high eight digs. Bart Kowalski led Santa Barbara to a .494 attack percentage with 49 assists. Northridge, which hit .273, got 13 kills out of opposite Dan Rhodes. Outside Eric Vance followed with nine kills and middle Kyle Waite had eight while hitting .538. Outside Isaac Kneubuhl dug up a team-high five balls and setters Travis Bluemling and Sean Pedersen had 25 and 19 assists, respectively.

Mr. 2000
Evan Patak's match-high 25 kills against Cal State Northridge on April 6 gave him 2,012 for his career. Patak is just the second Gaucho in school history to eclipse the 2,000-kill mark. Donny Harris is UCSB's all-time leader, amassing 2,114 put-aways from 1994 to 1997. Patak entered the contest with 1,987 career kills and collected his 13th of the night off of a Bart Kowalski set in the second game.

Trojan Tidbits
Still alive for a postseason bid, USC enters the week at 12-13 overall and 9-11 in the MPSF. The Trojans need one win or a Pacific loss to get into the tourney. Following the UCSB match, USC hosts Cal State Northridge Saturday to close out the regular season, while Pacific hosts BYU twice. If they get in, the Trojans could be seeded anywhere from sixth to eighth. USC has not been to the tournament since 2001 and its 12 overall wins and 9 MPSF victories are its most since that season. USC jumped two spots from 14th to 12th in this week's poll. It has been ranked 12th, its highest of the season, four times this year (including preseason). Troy has been victorious in six of its last eight contests and is coming off wins at Pacific and Stanford. Juan Figueroa ranks third in the MPSF in kills (5.11) and points (5.65), while Jimmy Killian is third in assists (12.88).

Pepperdine Points
Top-ranked Pepperdine has won its last 20 matches and is 23-1 overall and 19-1 in the MPSF. Its lone loss came in the form of a 3-2 defeat against Long Beach State back on Jan. 19. The Waves have clinched the No. 1 seed for the MPSF playoffs and will get a bye in the quarterfinals. The Malibu campus will play host to the semis and the final. Paul Carroll ranks second nationally in kills (5.64) and points (6.77) and is third in aces (.617). Tom Hulse is third in blocks (1.87) and Jonathan Winder is third in assists (13.22). The Waves lead the MPSF in digs (9.53).

Patak Named MPSF Player of the Week Again
For the second consecutive week, Evan Patak has been named the MPSF Player of the Week. Patak posted a match-high 25 kills in a league win against the Matadors on April 6 to become just the second Gaucho in school history to amass over 2,000 career kills. Patak shares this week's honor with Lauri Hakala, a senior outside hitter from the University of Hawai'i. It is the fourth time this season that Patak has garnered the award and he is the only player in the league to receive it more than once.

The MPSF Tourney Picture
UCSB, along with Pepperdine, BYU, UC Irvine, and UCLA, has clinched a spot in the eight-team MPSF Tournament. BYU and Irvine will host quarterfinal matches on April 21. The Gauchos can assure themselves a home quarterfinal with one win or one UCLA loss in the final two regular season matches. UCLA hosts Long Beach State and plays at UC San Diego this week. The Bruins, who hold the tiebreaker over UCSB, could move up to the fourth seed with two wins coupled with two Gaucho losses. Pepperdine has clinched the No. 1 seed and receives a bye in the quarters. The Waves will host the semis on April 26 and the final on April 28. The last three spots are open and Cal State Northridge, Hawai'i, USC, and Pacific are still alive. A play-in match between the seventh and eighth place regular season finishers will take place April 18. The MPSF Tournament winner gets an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships, hosted by Ohio State May 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio.

Hitting New Heights
At .363, UCSB is third in the country in attack percentage and leads the MPSF, hitting .366 in league matches. The Gauchos are on pace to to set a new single season record for hitting as the current mark is .348, set in 2002. UCSB has hit over .400 12 times, including in its last two matches. Opponents are swinging at .318 against the Gauchos this year. UCSB is 17-0 this season when out-hitting its opponent. Middles Theo Brunner and David Kennedy are ranked nationally, with Brunner third (.544) and Kennedy 19th (.416).

Ace (west of) Ventura
UCSB has been dangerous from the service line all season, collecting a single season record 193 aces to date. The Gauchos lead the MPSF with an average of 1.86 aces per game. Evan Patak has a school single season record 102 aces this year and continues to lead the nation in that category at 1.010 per game. The next closest player in total aces is Paul Carroll of Pepperdine, who has 50. Patak holds UCSB's career ace record with an amazing 247. In comparison, teammate Bryan Berman is second on the list with 89. Patak and Berman have accounted for 130 of UCSB's 193 aces this season, 67%. Opponents have aced the Gauchos 130 times.

On the National Front
Gauchos among the national statistics leaders (all matches):
•Theo Brunner: 3rd in hitting (.544)
•David Kennedy: 19th in hitting (.416)
•Bart Kowalski: 12th in assists (12.43)
•Evan Patak: 1st in kills (5.65), 1st in aces (1.010), 1st in points (7.03)
•UCSB: 3rd in hitting (.363)

In the MPSF
Gauchos among the MPSF statistics leaders (MPSF matches only):
•Bryan Berman: 8th in aces (0.30)
•Ben Brockman: 7th in digs (2.00)
•Theo Brunner: 2nd in hitting (.524)
•David Kennedy: 6th in hitting (.432)
•Bart Kowalski: 7th in assists (12.10)
•Evan Patak: 1st in kills (5.86), 1st in aces (1.07), 1st in points (7.34)
•UCSB: 1st in hitting (.366), 1st in aces (1.86), 2nd in kills (16.18), 2nd in assists (15.28), 4th in digs (9.03), 10th in blocks (2.55)

A Patak on the Back
Two-time All-American Evan Patak has been UCSB's offensive workhorse this season. He is the lone player in the nation with over 500 kills and has accounted for 1,121 of UCSB's 3,139 attempts this season (36%). The next closest Gaucho is middle Theo Brunner with 491 swings, 630 fewer than Patak. The opposite has led UCSB in attempts in all 28 matches and has posted 40 or more attacks 12 times this year, with a season-high 71 at Hawai'i (2/8). He's had double-digit kills in all but two contests and has put down 30 or more six times. Patak has led UCSB in kills in 26 matches has gathered a team-high in points 27 times.

Milestone/Record Watch
Evan Patak got his 2,000th career kill vs. CSUN on April 6...With 26 assists at Cal Baptist on March 27, Bart Kowalski moved into fifth on UCSB's career list...Kowalski needs 141 assists for 3,000 in his career...Bryan Berman is 11 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 14 digs for 500 in his career...At .544, Theo Brunner is on pace to smash his own single season hitting record of .486, set in 2005...Brunner collected his 800th career kill vs. Northridge on April 6...At .363, UCSB is on pace to break its single season hitting mark of .348, set in 2002...UCSB needs 107 kills to eclipse the single season rally record of 1,736 in 2005...With 10 more digs, the Gauchos will surpass the single season rally record of 910, set in 2005...The Gauchos set a new single season record for aces this year...Ken Preston collected his 500th career win this season.

Poll Position
Here's a week-by-week look at where UCSB has stood in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season:
• April 9 - 5th • April 2 - 5th • 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.

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.