January 3, 2008

No. 14 Men's Volleyball Set to Host Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational

Jan. 3, 2008

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The Schedule
Friday, January 4
UCSB vs. UC Irvine
Robertson Gymnasium
1 p.m.

UCSB vs. Cal State Northridge or Stanford
Robertson Gymnasium
7 p.m.

Saturday, January 5
7th/8th place match
Robertson Gymnasium
11 a.m.

5th/6th place match
Robertson Gymnasium
1:30 p.m.

Consolation match
Robertson Gymnasium
4 p.m.

Championship match
Robertson Gymnasium
6:30 p.m.

Gauchos Set to Host Annual Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational
UCSB will host its annual Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational on Friday, Jan. 4 and Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Thunderdome and Robertson Gymnasium. Also competing in the eight-team tourney will be Alberta, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, Stanford, reigning national champion UC Irvine, and USC.

Each team plays twice Friday (1 pm and 7 pm) and once Saturday. At 1 pm Friday, UCSB will open its regular season against UC Irvine at Robertson Gymnasium. The other three match-ups will be in the Thunderdome. The 7 pm pairings will be decided following the opening round of play. Again, UCSB's match will be in Rob Gym with the other three being contested at the Thunderdome.

On Saturday, the seventh/eighth place match is at 11 am, the fifth/sixth place match is at 1:30 pm, the consolation match is slated for 4 pm, and the championship tilt is scheduled for a 6:30 pm start. All of Saturday's matches will take place at Robertson Gymnasium.

UC Irvine won the 2007 Elephant Bar title with a sweep over UCLA in the championship match. Scores were 30-22, 30-26, and 30-23. The Gauchos placed third and were followed by Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, USC, and Stanford. UCSB posted wins over USC and Cal State Northridge and lost against UCLA during the two-day affair.

Tourney Ticket Information
Tickets for the Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational will be available at both the Thunderdome and Robertson Gymnasium one hour prior to matches on Friday (12 pm and 6 pm). Saturday, tickets will be available for purchase all day, starting at 10 am, at Robertson Gymnasium.

An all-tourney pass will get you into any and all matches both days. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for 12/under and UCSB students. A single day pass will cost $10 for adults and $5 for 12/under and UCSB students.

There will be no pre-sales and ticket purchases are cash-only.

Preston Will Retire Following the 2008 Season
Ken Preston, easily the winningest coach in UCSB men's volleyball history and one of the winningest active coaches in the nation, will retire following the 2008 season, his 30th as head of the Gaucho program. Preston will remain a member of the UCSB Athletics Department through the end of 2008 and will assist in the search for his successor in the spring.

Preston began his UCSB head coaching career in 1979. In his 29 seasons, he has compiled a 506-364 overall record for a winning percentage of .582. He has guided the program to 21 of its 29 seasons of .500 or better, including 19 winning seasons. His teams have qualified for 19 postseason appearances and in 1988, Preston's squad advanced to the NCAA Final Four and then the NCAA Championship match.

In 2007, UCSB had one of its most successful seasons in several years with a 20-14 overall record and a 14-8 mark in the MPSF. The Gauchos, who climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings, posted a victory over visiting UCLA in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament to cap the campaign. Preston recorded his 500th career win with a victory at IPFW in March. In addition, two players - Theo Brunner and Evan Patak - were named AVCA First Team All-Americans.

Prior to coming to UCSB, Preston coached at Cal Poly, Wright State (Dayton, Ohio), and Westmont College in Santa Barbara. In addition to his collegiate experience, Preston has spent extensive time on the international circuit, serving in both head and assistant coach capacities at the Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Games, and the World University Games.

A search for Preston's successor will take place in the spring. Preston will be a key member of the committee assigned to select the new coach.

New Mugs on the Coaching Staff
Head coach Ken Preston welcomes several new faces to his 2008 coaching staff.

Most recently, Lee Nelson joined the Gauchos as associate head coach. Nelson replaced Aaron Mansfield, who left this summer to try out for the U.S. National Team. Nelson came from Fresno State, where he was the top assistant with the Bulldog women's program. He played at UCSB from 1985-89 and was also an assistant coach under Preston from 1997-99. Lee graduated from UCSB in 1991. He was raised in Santa Barbara and is a 1984 grad of Santa Barbara High School.

Ricardo DoMonte was added to the staff during the summer of 2007. A native Brazilian, he coached the UCSB men's volleyball club team to a national championship in 2007. Since 2002, doMonte has served as the Volleyball Director for the Page Youth Center/Santa Barbara Boy's Volleyball Club. He has coached elite level players indoors and on the beach in both Brazil and United States, and has worked at several UCSB volleyball camps.

Finally, former Gaucho Bart Kowalski has signed on as a volunteer assistant coach. Kowalski played setter at UCSB from 2003-07 and racked up 2,910 career assists, fifth on the school's all-time list. In 2007, Kowalski was named Honorable Mention All-MPSF. The native of Poland was named to the Dean's List at UCSB in 2006 and graduated with a degree in computer engineering.

Gauchos Come Back to Defeat Alberta in Five
Theo Brunner knocked down a match-high 23 kills as UCSB defeated Alberta 3-2 Wednesday in an exhibition match at Rob Gym. UCSB won the opening game 31-29, but dropped the next two by scores of 30-26 and 30-19. The Gauchos hit an impressive .625 in game four to take a 30-20 win. In the deciding frame, Santa Barbara was down 11-5 but came from behind to win 18-16. Brunner had five digs and three blocks to go along with his 23 kills. Jeff Menzel finished with 15 kills and Phil Mathews totaled 13. Sam Moisenco had five blocks and libero Andy McGuire amassed 16 digs, a match-high. Starting setter Max Klineman had 34 assists while Mike Runkle registered 21 off the bench. For Alberta, Joel Schmuland led the way with 15 kills and a .462 attack percentage. Ben Saxton added 12 kills and Adam Kaminski had eight blocks as the Golden Bears out-blocked the Gauchos 18.5 to 9.0.

Track the Games
For the first time ever, Gaucho men's volleyball can be followed live online with Gametracker. All home matches, as well as select road contests, will be available on Gametracker. Fans and other can follow the live stats in real time by going to UCSBGauchos.com. Go to the men's volleyball page, click on the schedule, and then select the match you're interested in. To the right of the schedule, click on the Gametracker logo and you're set. There is no cost to follow Gametracker, but you must have Java and Flash enabled on your computer.

Gauchos Pick Up Four During Fall Signing Period
UCSB picked up four high school seniors during the 2007 fall signing period. Outside hitters Grant Goswiller, Mark Liebermann, and Matt Townsend, as well as middle blocker/opposite Jake Piva will don the blue and gold for the 2009 season.

Goswiller, a 6-foot-3 outside, hails from Coto de Caza, Calif. and Tesoro High School. He has also played club ball for Balboa Bay and OC Riptides. Goswiller was an all-tournament selection at the 2007 Junior Olympics (17 Open) in Atlanta. Outside of volleyball, he was a member of the Lionsheart Community Service Club and the Invisible Children's Club. In the classroom, Goswiller was a three-year Presidential Honor Roll member.

Liebermann is from Newport Beach, Calif. and Newport Harbor High School. The 6-foot-5 outside was part of a Balboa Bay Volleyball Club squad that took first place at the 2007 Holiday Classic.

Piva, a 6-foot-8 middle/opposite, is from Valencia, Calif. and won a CIF title with Valencia High School, a perennial powerhouse in the Foothill League. With Santa Monica Beach Club, he won a 2007 title in the Open Division and has twice been named all-tourney at Junior Olympics.

Townsend is from Granada Hills, Calif. and plays for Chaminade College Prep. A four-year letterwinner, the 6-foot-4 outside has garnered First Team All-Mission League honors. In 2007, he was a member of the Southern California Volleyball Association Regional Team that competed at the Slovenia Global Challenge. Townsend won gold at the 2007 Junior Olympics (17 Open) and silver at the 2006 JOs (16 Open).

-- UCSBGauchos.com --