March 3, 2007
Fort Wayne, Ind. - UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball head coach Ken Preston recorded his 500th career victory Saturday as the fourth-ranked Gauchos rode the rush of a huge game two win to sweep No. 8 IPFW at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center. It was the second win in as many days for UCSB over the non-conference opponent.
After winning the first game 30-23, the Gauchos captured a marathon second set by the score of 39-37. Game number three was a bit more tame as UCSB finished off the Mastodons 30-18.
UCSB improved to 14-6, while IPFW, which has lost four straight, dropped to 9-5 after starting the season 8-0. The Gauchos won in three games Friday as well.
Preston, in his 29th season at the helm of the program, holds a career record of 500-357 (.583) since taking the reigns in 1979.
From the opening serve, UCSB sprinted out of the gate for a 9-1 lead. IPFW drew to within one on a number of occasions, but couldn't manage to take the lead. Leading 16-15, the Gauchos went on an 8-2 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from opposite Evan Patak. Middle David Kennedy finished off the game with a kill off an assist from setter Bart Kowalski.
Game two was an epic struggle.
IPFW had game point in hand, but a service error tied it at 30. Tied at 33-33, Patak put a ball to the floor to give UCSB a game-point. IPFW fought it off on a kill by junior outside hitter C.J. Macias. The Mastodons held a game-point at 37-36, but outside Michael Fisher tied it with a kill. From there, it was a kill from middle Theo Brunner and an IPFW attack error that gave the Gauchos game two.
The loss took the wind out of the Mastodons and the 1,345 in attendance. UCSB cruised to the set three win with most of the starters on the sideline.
Patak put down a match-high 15 kills for the Gauchos. Fisher added 11 as UCSB hit .371 in the match. Libero Ben Brockman had a match-co-high 11 digs and Kowalski ended the night with 45 assists and five blocks.
Macias was the only 'Don to hit in double figures with 10 kills. Freshman libero Matt Pliske led the Mastodon defensive effort with 11 digs.
IPFW out-blocked UCSB for the second straight match as it held a 12.0-8.5 advantage.
UCSB returns to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action as it hosts No. 3 BYU March 9-10 at Robertson Gymnasium. First serve is set for 7 p.m each night.