March 27, 2007
Riverside, Calif. - Three Cal Baptist players recorded double-digit kill totals to lead the top-ranked NAIA team past No. 5 UC Santa Barbara in three games Tuesday at Van Dyne Gym in non-conference men's volleyball action.
Scores of the tightly contested match were 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27. The Gauchos fell to 15-10 and the Lancers upped their season mark to 17-9.
Cal Baptist hit .427 for the match and swung at a blistering .654 clip in the second stanza. The Lancers proved to be relentless at the net, out-blocking Santa Barbara 12-2.
UCSB, which hit .309, entered the match with a solid 8-3 record on the road.
Evan Patak led the Gauchos with 17 kills in 40 attempts, while freshman Sam Cantor posted career-highs with nine kills and a .692 attack percentage. Libero Ben Brockman had six digs. Bart Kowalski and Max Klineman split setting duties and tallied 26 and 17 assists, respectively.
Cal Baptist, the three-time defending NAIA national champion, spread its offensive barrage among Yukai Sun, Donald Baliaba, and Shamsu Awudu. Sun led all players with 18 kills and hit .739. Baliaba, named the NAIA National Player of the Week March 20, had 15 kills and Awudu chipped in with 14. Corey Spence had a match-best 16 digs and setter Eric Plunkett racked up 51 assists. Awudu and Romain Vetter had five stuffs each at the net.
The opening game was tight the whole way before the Lancers pulled ahead for good on a Sun kill at 27-26. CBU out-blocked Santa Barbara 4.5-0 in the game.
The Lancers claimed the lead for good much earlier in the second game, as a block by Awudu gave them a 2-1 advantage. UCSB would pull within one point at 12-11, but a four-point run by CBU put the game out of reach.
In game three, UCSB led 23-20 following a Patak kill, but a pair of Gaucho errors kick started a 5-0 CBU run that was highlighted by a pair of Baliaba kills to make the score 25-23. The Lancers did not trail again and a Sun kill would put the match in the books.
It was UCSB's first match since defeating Cal Baptist 3-0 in Santa Barbara March 14. Prior to tonight, the Lancers had not topped the Gauchos since March of 2004. CBU now holds a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series.
It was the fifth time this season that the Gauchos have been swept in three games. In contrast, UCSB has won 10 matches in straight sets this year.
UCSB returns to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action later this week as it hosts No. 11 Pacific March 30 and un-ranked Stanford March 31. Both matches are slated for a 7 p.m. start at Robertson Gymnasium.