UCSB Picked Sixth in CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll

Dec. 27, 2006

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team has been picked sixth in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Preseason Coaches Top 15 Poll. UC Irvine took the top spot with 234 points and racked up 11 first-place votes.

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) teams filled the top six slots in the poll. Following UC Irvine was Brigham Young in second (224 points, three first-place votes), UCLA in third (203 points, two first-place votes), Hawai'i in fourth (192 points), Pepperdine in the five spot (179 points), and UCSB in sixth (153 points).

The Gauchos' ranking was the same that they received in this season's MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll. UC Irvine was chosen first in that poll as well.

UCSB finished its 2006 campaign with a 13-16 overall record and placed eighth in the MPSF with a 9-13 mark. The Gauchos were downed 3-1 in the MPSF Play-In match by eventual national champion UCLA and ended the year ranked 10th in the final CSTV/AVCA poll.

Ken Preston, entering his 29th season leading the UCSB program, returns seven starters plus last season's top libero for 2007.

The Gauchos lost just two players to graduation and will return senior outside Bryan Berman (264 kills), junior middle Theo Brunner (264 kills, 90 blocks), junior outside Michael Fisher (146 kills), senior middle David Kennedy (139 kills, 64 blocks), senior opposite Evan Patak (423 kills), and senior outside Aaron Richman (234 kills). Patak led the MPSF in kills (327, 6.06 KPG), aces (40), and points (7.13 PPG), while Berman and Brunner were named All-MPSF Honorable Mention.

UCSB also returns two talented setters in sophomore Max Klineman and senior Bart Kowalski. Klineman amassed 1,279 assists as a true freshman in 2006, while Kowalski will be back after taking a redshirt last year.

Senior Armen Zakarian picked up the libero role last season and recorded 142 digs in 83 games played.

The Gauchos open their 2007 campaign on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. in Robertson Gymnasium with an exhibition match against Thompson Rivers University. The regular season starts Jan. 5-6 as UCSB hosts its annual Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational.

The next CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 15 Poll will be released Jan. 8.

(first place votes in parentheses)
1. UC Irvine (11), 234 points
2. Brigham Young (3), 224 points
3. UCLA (2), 203 points
4. Hawai'I, 192 points
5. Pepperdine, 179 points
6. UC Santa Barbara, 153 points
7. IPFW, 130 points
8. Penn State, 124 points
9. Cal State Northridge, 117 points
10. Long Beach State, 111 points
11. Ohio State, 81 points
12. USC, 54 points
13. Loyola-Chicago, 47 points
T14. Pacific, 25 points
T14. Ball State, 25 points

Others receiving points: George Mason (21)