March 30, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - For the second time this season, the fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team went five games with No. 11 Pacific and picked up a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) victory Friday evening at Robertson Gymnasium. Senior opposite Evan Patak pounded a match-high 30 kills and sophomore setter Max Klineman tallied a season-high 58 assists to lead the Gauchos to a .362 hitting percentage.
Pacific (14-12, 8-9 MPSF) won the opening game 34-32 before UCSB (16-10, 11-7 MPSF) clamped down to win the next two by scores of 30-19 and 30-17. The Tigers out-hit the Gauchos .344 to .194 in game four to win 30-21, but UCSB closed out the match with a 15-11 victory in the fifth frame.
Patak recorded the 30 kills with just six errors in 58 swings, good for a .414 attack percentage. It was the sixth time this season that the two-time All-American had totaled 30 or more kills. He needs just 31 more for 2,000 in his illustrious career. Patak also added four service aces, four blocks, and three digs.
Three other Gauchos also hit double-digits in kills as middle Theo Brunner had 14, middle David Kennedy amassed 11, and outside Bryan Berman added 10. Libero Tyson Norton set a new career-high with 17 digs as UCSB dredged up 50 balls on the night.
Pacific, which hit .236 for the match, had two players with double-doubles as Pekka Seppanen posted 21 kills and 12 digs and Maor Nutkevitch finished with 14 kills and 13 digs. Simon Chen-Byerley chipped in with 10 kills and setter Garrett Morales had 46 helpers.
Pacific started strong at the net, out-blocking UCSB 6.0-0 in the first game and then holding an 8.0-3.0 advantage after two games. However, the Gauchos turned the tables and out-blocked the Tigers 10.5-1.0 over the next three sets to finish with 13.5 blocks to Pacific's 9.0. Brunner led all players with six total blocks.
Following the tight first game, it was all Gauchos in the next two as UCSB hit .417 in game two and .588 in game three. In comparison, Pacific hit a match-low .061 in the second game and .214 in the third.
In the fourth set, the Tigers took a 10-6 lead on a UCSB service error, but the Gauchos came back to tie it at 11-11 following a Patak kill. Several kills by Chen-Byerley and Nutkevitch rolled Pacific to an eight-point lead at 23-15 and UCSB could not recover.
The two teams traded points early in the deciding game until UCSB strung together a three-point streak behind a kill from Brunner, an Aaron Richman service ace, and a block by Brunner and Berman to take a commanding 14-10 lead. Following a Seppanen kill, Brunner iced the win with a kill on a set-up from Klineman.
UCSB defeated Pacific 3-2 in Stockton on Jan. 12 to open its league season.
With just four regular season league matches remaining, UCSB sits in fourth place in the MPSF and will play host to un-ranked Stanford March 31 at 7 p.m.