Jan. 2, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Backed by a solid team attack and 18 kills from senior opposite Evan Patak, the UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team opened its 2007 campaign with a 3-0 exhibition victory over Thompson Rivers University Tuesday at Robertson Gymnasium.
Game scores were 30-23, 30-28, and 30-20.
In the opening game, UCSB jumped out to a 10-3 lead as the Gauchos rattled off six straight points that included back-to-back kills from junior middle Theo Brunner, a 2006 All-MPSF Honorable Mention selection. Thompson Rivers, out of Kamloops, British Columbia, would close the gap to three at 18-15 on a service ace by Robin Schoebel, but that is as close as it would get for the remainder of the game.
UCSB, which hit .347 on the night, had its best offensive showing in game one by swinging at a .464 clip with 17 kills and just four errors in 28 attempts.
The Gauchos started strong again in the second stanza and rolled to a 6-2 advantage on a kill by junior outside Michael Fisher. However, the WolfPack picked up its momentum and had the game tied 9-9 as Schoebel had three kills and Troy Jaggard added a pair in the spurt. Hitting and service errors by TRU and three kills from Patak put UCSB back up by six points at 18-12. Several attack errors by the Gauchos allowed TRU back in the game and the WolfPack took its first lead of the night (23-22) on a miscue by Patak. Both squads traded points and the game was even at 28-28 before Patak iced the 30-28 win with back-to-back kills.
The WolfPack led by as many as three points early in game three before Brunner put UCSB up for good with a kill to give the Gauchos a 13-12 advantage. TRU kept close until UCSB rattled off four straight points on kills by Patak and senior middle David Kennedy and two hitting errors by Tony Zylstra, giving UCSB a 21-15 edge. The WolfPack never recovered and didn't close the gap any closer than five for the remainder of the deciding game.
Thompson Rivers hit just .138 in the third game and .168 for the match.
Patak's 18 kills was a match-high. He ended up hitting .375 with six errors in 32 swings. Both Brunner and Fisher hit .500 with Brunner amassing nine kills and Fisher eight. Brunner also added three blocks. Senior setter Bart Kowalski, who took a redshirt in 2006, returned to the floor and totaled 30 assists. Defensively, Fisher and senior libero Tyson Norton each finished with a match co-high six digs.
Two TRU players reached double figures in kills as Kyle Brewer and Schoebel each put down 10. Setter Colin Jaggard recorded 33 assists and both Jaggard and Brewer led the team with five digs apiece.
UCSB opens its regular season Jan. 5-6 as it hosts the 43rd Annual UCSB/Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational. Also competing will be Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA, and USC. The Gauchos, seeded third, open play against sixth-seeded USC Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. in Robertson Gymnasium.