June 24, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, the face of a UC Santa Barbara soccer team that was top-ranked much of the season and advanced to the NCAA Championship match, has been selected the 2004-05 UCSBgauchos.com Male Athlete of the Year.
Kennedy received 21.3% of the vote in the on-line poll. He narrowly defeated Gaucho infielder Chris Malec, who garnered 19.7% of the vote. Three other UCSB athletes, including two more soccer players, received double-digit percentages. Senior forward Drew McAthy, the soccer team's leading scorer, received 11.0% of the votes, while senior defender Tony Lochhead, an All-American, polled 10.2%. Senior All-American water polo player Brian Alexander also checked-in with 10.2%.
Kennedy was masterful in goal for the Gauchos in 2004. He recorded a 0.55 goals against average in 23 matches. In his 23 matches, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native recorded 13 shutouts and 77 saves. Kennedy was the last-line of defense for a UCSB team that finished the year 21-2-2, was ranked No. 1 much of the year, and ultimately lost to Indiana in a penalty kick shootout. In addition to his statistical excellence, Kennedy was also the Gauchos' emotional leader and team captain.
Malec was a 16th-round draft choice of the New York Yankees in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. On April 14, he had surgery after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. A week later he had his first chemotherapy treatment and, in fact, was not expected to return to the lineup until UCSB's three-game series against UC Irvine, which started on May 20. Instead, the four-year Gaucho starter returned two weeks early, for a three-game series against Long Beach State. After entering the first game of the series as a defensive replacement, Malec was back in the starting lineup on May 7. He made the most of his return against the 49ers, belting a first inning grand slam and propelling the Gauchos to a win in the game and the series. He missed just one game the remainder of the season, the first game of the series against UC Irvine, after a second chemotherapy treatment. Malec ultimately played in 45 of UCSB's 56 games, he batted .316 with a team-leading 13 doubles. In addition, he ranked tied for second on the team in home runs with five, had 36 run sscored, and had 25 RBI.