No. 3 Gauchos Battle for Sweep Over No. 13 Long Beach State

No. 3 Gauchos Battle for Sweep Over No. 13 Long Beach State

Feb. 17, 2007

Box Score

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team won its fourth consecutive match with a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Long Beach State Saturday in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) action at Robertson Gymnasium. The Gauchos overcame large deficits in the first two games to pick up their second sweep of the 49ers this season.

Scores went 30-19, 30-28, and 30-19. UCSB upped its season record to 12-3 and is now 10-2 in MPSF play. Long Beach State dropped to 6-7 overall and 3-6 in the league. Santa Barbara has won four straight matches twice this season. The Gauchos remain in second place in the MPSF as No. 2 Pepperdine (9-1) retained the top spot by defeating No. 1 Brigham Young 3-0 Saturday afternoon. It was the eighth consecutive win for the Waves.

UCSB baffled Long Beach at the net, collecting 14.0 total blocks, eight of those coming from middle blocker David Kennedy. Opposite hitter Evan Patak, the AVCA National Player of the Week, finished with a match co-high 13 kills and added four service aces, three of those coming in the opening game. Middle Theo Brunner hit .714 with 11 kills, while outside Bryan Berman hit a career-high .727 with eight kills and no errors in 11 swings. Libero Ben Brockman amassed a match-high 13 digs. Setter Bart Kowalski had 42 assists.

Long Beach was led by Norm Hutton with 13 kills. Paul Lotman followed with 12 kills and Dustin Watten recorded five digs. Setter Michael Iandolo finished with 40 helpers.

The Gauchos, who are hitting .373 on the season, swung at a .462 clip for the match and hit .607 in game three. The 49ers hit .220.

Long Beach started strong and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening game as Iandolo had a pair of kills in the run. A Hutton kill put the 49ers up 10-4 before the Gauchos reeled off four straight points of their own, helped by two consecutive blocks by Kennedy. A Berman kill tied the game for the first time at 11-11. Four plays later, a Patak kill sparked a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach for Long Beach.

UCSB led 3-2 early in the second frame, but the 49ers struck for six straight points to take an 8-3 advantage. They led by as much as six points at 14-8, but the Gauchos were again ignited by a Patak kill to go on a four-point spree and come within two at 14-12. Long Beach responded and took a seven-point lead at 27-20 on a Gaucho service miscue. Lotman put away a kill to bump the score to 28-22, but the Beach couldn't put the game away. UCSB pounded out eight unanswered points to win the game, stuffing Long Beach attacks on four of the final five plays of the set.

Game three was close early on, but UCSB opened it up and took an 11-6 lead following a kill by Brunner. Long Beach struggled offensively and hit .179, while the Santa Barbara offense was on fire, putting away 19 kills with just two errors in 28 attacks.

Gaucho head coach Ken Preston, now in his 29th season leading the program, earned his 498th career victory.

UCSB plays a key league match Feb. 21 as UC Irvine, also ranked No. 3, comes to town. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.