Men's Volleyball All-Decade Team Announced

Dec. 22, 2009


Justin Adams, 2001-04

Theo Brunner, 2005-08

Michael Kennedy, 2001-05

Bart Kowalski, 2003-07

Aaron Mansfield, 2001-05

Evan Patak, 2003-07

Andy Rivera, 1999-2002

The conclusion of the first decade of the new millennium is just days away and to commemorate it, the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Department will take a look back and honor the athletes who have made the biggest impact on their respective teams over the past 10 years.

It has been a decade that saw a national championship, numerous Big West titles, All-Americans, Players of the Year, record-setting performances and far more victories than defeats.

In a retrospective look, the team sports at UCSB will release the All-Decade Teams - compiling the players who helped make those teams successful from 2000-09.

Sure, there are certain criteria for selecting the starting lineups of these teams. To be considered for the All-Decade Team in his or her sport, a student-athlete must have played the majority of their contests in the past 10 years; student-athletes who spent more time at UCSB to accomplish greater things typically will be given the edge over those who either left early or started late, but it won't rule transfer students or those who departed for professional careers out; while the players selected may have won more awards or had better statistics, the All-Decade Teams don't go solely by what happens between the lines or shows up in the box scores - intangibles play a large role; the idea of the All-Decade Team is to make the best starting lineup of the players who competed for UCSB from 2000-09.

The UCSB men's volleyball team has been a competitive force in the MPSF nearly the entire decade, producing a handful of All-Americans and several All-Conference selections.

UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin took over the program in 2008, as Ken Preston retired from the position after 30 seasons as the head of Gaucho volleyball. had both coaches help select the school's men's volleyball All-Decade Team.

Here is the Gauchos' All-Decade men's volleyball team in alphabetical order.

Justin Adams, 2001-04, Middle Blocker

Opponents hated hitting past the block of Justin Adams. The 6'6'' middle blocker from Paradise Valley, Ariz. left UCSB as the school's all-time leader in career blocks with 455. His 359-career block assists rank 3rd best all time in UCSB annals. Named third team All-MPSF after his sophomore season, he earned MPSF All-Conference Academic honors in 2003.

Theo Brunner, 2005-08, Middle Blocker

Theo Brunner was one of the most accurate middle blockers in UCSB history. The Connecticut native holds the three highest single-season hitting percentages in school history- .531 in 2007, .486 in 2005, and .439 in 2006. Brunner earned all-MPSF honors each of his four seasons and was named a First-Team All American in 2007. He ranks sixth in career block assists with 323 and tenth in solo blocks with 66.

Michael Kennedy, 2001-05, Middle Blocker

A two-time All-MPSF honoree, Michael Kennedy ranks near the top of the list in every major blocking category in the UCSB record books. He is third in total blocks with 432, second in block assists with 361, and eighth in career solo blocks with 71. His 147 blocks during the 2004 campaign ranks as fourth best all-time.

Bart Kowalski, 2003-07, Setter

Bart Kowalski finished his career as one of the best set-up men ever to don the blue and gold. His 2910 career assists are the fifth most in school history. He dished out a career-high 69 assists versus Pacific in 2003, adding eight digs in that match.

Aaron Mansfield, 2001-05, Libero

A four-time All-MPSF performer, Mansfield ranks as UCSB's all-time digs leader with exactly 1,000, 200 more than the next closest player. Mansfield holds the top three season totals in digs in UCSB school history, capped by 270 in 2004. During that season, he recorded 26 digs versus Cal State Northridge, the second most by any player in a single match. He graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology.

Evan Patak, 2003-07, Opposite

One of the most lethal outside hitters in school history, Patak left UCSB ranked as the all-time leader in aces, knocking home the first service 255 times. Patak was named an AVCA All-American three times during his career, winning First Team honors in 2007 and 2005. As a freshman, he won the AVCA and MPSF Newcomer of the year, as well as Second Team All-American honors. Patak's 2,112 career kills ranks second only to Donny Harris' 2,114. During his senior season, the three-time All American would lead the nation in kills (5.78/game), service aces (.948/game), and points (7.40/game) before taking his game overseas to Aon hotVolleys of Vienna in Fall 2008. In January, he signed with PAOK, a club based in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Andy Rivera, 1999-02, Outside Hitter

A Second Team All-American selection in 2002, Rivera finished the regular season with a team-high 3.9 kills per game and a .376 hitting percentage. In a match against UC San Diego on February 6th, 2002, Rivera connected on all ten of his attack attempts with no errors, a perfect 1.000. He remains the only UCSB player to ever record a perfect match.