March 10, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team was defeated in three games by No. 3 BYU Saturday at Robertson Gymnasium, the second consecutive night that the Gauchos suffered a sweep at the hands of the Cougars. Scores of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match were 30-28, 30-28, and 30-26.
The win further distanced BYU (15-4, 11-3 MPSF) from UCSB (14-8, 10-7 MPSF) in the league standings as the Cougars entered the two-match series in third, just ahead of the Gauchos in fourth.
UCSB has now lost its last five MPSF matches, while BYU won its fifth-straight contest. The Cougars have been victorious in the last four meetings between the two squads.
The first two games were fairly even, but the Cougars hit an impressive .714 in the third to put away the match. Overall, BYU hit at a .495 clip, while Santa Barbara swung at .364 for the match.
UCSB was paced by opposite Evan Patak and middle Theo Brunner, who each contributed 13 kills. Patak and outside Bryan Berman combined for seven of UCSB's nine service aces, with Berman laying down four and Patak three. Brunner and setter Bart Kowalski each posted four blocks, while libero Ben Brockman had a team-best five digs on defense.
Robby Stowell, the MPSF Player of the Week, recorded 19 kills and seven digs, both match-highs. Yosleyder Cala, the AVCA National Player of the Week, collected 12 kills and Ivan Perez followed with 11 and hit .667. Rodnei Santos hit .700 with eight kills and just one error in 10 attacks. The Cougars out-blocked the Gauchos 8.0 to 6.5 as Russell Holmes had five and Perez, Stowell, and Yamil Perez each had three.
The Gauchos led by as much as five points in the opening game as a Berman kill gave UCSB a 17-12 advantage. However, Stowell came alive and had a service ace plus four kills to tie the game at 19-19. Two straight kills from Michael Fisher gave the lead back to the Gauchos, but BYU tied it again at 25-25 on a UCSB attack error. A Holmes kill gave the Cougars a 26-25 lead and they would not trail again in the frame. Stowell finished with nine kills in the game as BYU hit .484 and UCSB hit .433.
The second game was tight the whole way and tied at 28-28 before Ivan Perez had two kills to give the set to the Cougars. Patak and Brunner each had four kills in the game, while Stowell, Ivan Perez, and Cala all had five. BYU held a slight advantage in hitting percentage at .312 to UCSB's .294.
BYU kept the pressure on constantly in the third game as five players hit .600 or better. Stowell and Ivan Perez again had five kills apiece, as did Patak. Multiple early runs put the Cougars up by as much as five points before the Gauchos got a service ace from Aaron Richman to pull within one at 10-9. Santos and Cala combined for four kills in a run that gave the Cougars a four-point lead at 15-11 and UCSB could not recover.
UCSB hosts No. 6 Penn State in a non-conference affair March 12 at 7 p.m.