Men's Volleyball Opens MPSF Season on the Road at Pepperdine and USC

Men's Volleyball Opens MPSF Season on the Road at Pepperdine and USC

Jan. 9, 2008

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The Schedule
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m.
No. 14 UCSB at No. 2 Pepperdine
Firestone Fieldhouse
Malibu, Calif.

Friday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m.
No. 14 UCSB at No. 11 USC
Galen Center
Los Angeles, Calif.

Live Video
Live Audio
Gametracker/Live Stats

UCSB Goes 1-2, Alberta Wins Elephant Bar Tournament
The Gauchos took seventh place with a 1-2 record at this past weekend's 44th Annual Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational in Santa Barbara. UCSB defeated Pacific in the seventh place match and suffered losses against UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. Canadian powerhouse Alberta took down Stanford in the championship match. Long Beach State topped Irvine in the consolation, while Northridge finished fifth and USC placed sixth. Stanford was the surprise of the weekend as the Cardinal went in to play as the sixth seed. Named to the all-tourney team from MPSF squads were: Dean Bittner (LBSU), Matt Ceran (Stanford), Kawika Shoji (Stanford), and Anthony Spittle (UCI). Alberta setter Brock Pehar was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.

Against Pacific
UCSB picked up its first win of the young season with a 3-1 victory over Pacific in the seventh place match of the E-Bar tourney. The Gauchos hit a solid .392 to the Tigers' .306. UCSB true freshman Jeff Menzel led all players with a career-high 23 kills and hit .471 from the outside. Redshirt freshman Trey Valbuena added 11 kills, while setter Max Klineman had 50 assists. Santa Barbara out-blocked Pacific 14 to 11.5.

Against Cal State Northridge
The Gauchos and Matadors did battle in the second round of play at the E-Bar and Northridge had no problem coming away with a 3-0 sweep. UCSB hit a horrendous .045 for the match, including swinging in the negative in game two. Menzel provided a bright spot with a match-high 15 kills. No other Gaucho had more than three kills. Cody Loe led the Matadors with 12 kills and five blocks.

Opening Up Against UC Irvine
Santa Barbara opened its regular season Jan. 4 by hosting reigning national champion UC Irvine in first round play of the E-Bar. The Gauchos took game three but ended up losing 3-1. Menzel kicked off his collegiate career with a team-best 21 kills, two digs, and two blocks. Redshirt freshman libero Andy McGuire, also playing in his first collegiate match, finished with a match-high 19 digs. UCSB was out-hit .320 to .230. The Anteaters got a solid 22 kills out of Taylor Wilson as four players hit double-digit kill totals. Wilson also recorded seven blocks and Brett Kohout had six.

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 Jan. 2 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 others can follow the match statistics in real time by going to 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 use 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).

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