April 19, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Three UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball players picked up Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) honors for their performances during the 2007 season it was announced Thursday. Evan Patak and Theo Brunner were named to the league's first team, while Bart Kowalski earned honorable mention accolades.
Patak currently leads the nation in kills per game (5.75) and aces per game (.981) and is second in points per game (6.65). The senior opposite hitter finished the regular season as the MPSF leader in kills per game (5.98), aces per game (1.02), and points per game (7.40). Patak has been the Gauchos' offensive workhorse all season, recording 30 or more kills seven times and collecting a school single season record 106 service aces. He put away double-digit kills in all but two matches and is the lone player in the nation with over 600 kills this year. The two-time all-American has accounted for 1,210 of UCSB's 3,360 attacks, 36%. On April 6 against Cal State Northridge, Patak tallied his 2,000th career kill, making him just the second Gaucho in school history to surpass the mark. He has been chosen as the MPSF Player of the Week four times this year. Patak was named to the All-MPSF First Team in 2005 and was a second team selection in 2004. In addition, he was touted as the MPSF Newcomer of the Year in 2004.
Brunner was second in the conference in hitting, swinging at a .531 clip in MPSF matches. His current .548 overall attack percentage ranks fourth in the country. The junior middle blocker is on pace to obliterate UCSB's single season hitting mark, which he set at .486 in 2005. He leads the Gauchos with 111 blocks, is second with 419.5 points, and third with 19 aces. Brunner notched his 800th career kill this season and recently moved into the top-ten on UCSB's career block assists and total blocks lists. On Jan. 12, he established a new career-high with 23 kills at Pacifc. He was named All-MPSF Honorable Mention in 2006 and 2005.
Kowalski, a senior setter, has racked up 1,019 assists this season and is averaging 12.28 per game, good for 13th in the country. His 11.93 average in MPSF matches ranked him seventh among all league players. Kowalski set several career-highs this season, including assists (74 at Pacific on 1/12), digs (9 vs. UCLA on 1/17), and blocks (5.0 at Indiana-Purdue on 3/3). With 26 assists at Cal Baptist on March 27, he moved into fifth place all-time at UCSB, where he currently sits with 2,859 helpers. Kowalski has helped lead the Gauchos to a .366 hitting percentage, which is second best in the nation. UCSB is on pace to set a new single season record as the current hitting mark is .348, set in 2002. The Gauchos led the MPSF with a .369 attack percentage.
Pepperdine setter Jonathan Winder was named the 2007 MPSF Player of the Year, while BYU setter Yamil Perez took Newcomer of the Year honors. Marv Dunphy, in his 24th season as the head coach at Pepperdine, was tabbed the MPSF Coach of the Year.
UCSB (19-11, 14-8 MPSF), ranked fifth in the country, will host No. 4 UCLA (19-10, 13-9 MPSF) April 21 in a MPSF Tournament quarterfinal match. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at Robertson Gymnasium. The winner will advance to take on top-ranked Pepperdine in the semis on April 26 in Malibu.