No. 4 UCSB Plays Two More on the Road

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Jan. 23, 2007

Friday, January 26, 7 p.m.
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara at No. 8 Long Beach State
Walter Pyramid, Long Beach, Calif.

Saturday, January 27, 7 p.m.
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara at UC San Diego
RIMAC Arena, La Jolla, Calif.

Last Meeting: 3/1/06 at UCSB
Result: LBSU 3, UCSB 2 (23-30, 26-30, 30-19, 30-27, 15-12)
2006 Series: LBSU led 2-0
2007 Series: 0-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 41-32
Last UCSB Win: 2/18/05 at LBSU
Result: UCSB 3, LBSU 1 (22-30, 30-22, 34-32, 30-20)
Current Streak: LBSU, three wins

Last Meeting: 3/3/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, UCSD 0 (30-20, 30-20, 31-29)
2006 Series: UCSB led 2-0
2007 Series: 0-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 30-1
Last UCSD Win: 4/9/04 at UCSD
Result: UCSD 3, UCSB 2 (33-35, 33-31, 30-22, 28-30, 15-12)
Current Streak: UCSB, four wins

Despite a match-high 36 kills from Evan Patak, UCSB saw its four-match win streak come to an end Saturday as it was defeated, 3-2, at UC Irvine. The Gauchos won the first two games before the Anteaters turned it around and hit almost .600 over the next three frames to ice the victory.Scores of the match were 25-30, 28-30, 30-22, 30-25, and 15-10. It was just the second time this season that Irvine did not sweep its opponent in three games. Game three was the turning point in the match as UC Irvine hit .514 to UCSB's match-low .200. It only got better from there for the Anteaters, who hit .581 in the fourth game and .769 in the fifth. Over the three-game stretch, Irvine hit. 582 with 51 kills and just five errors in 79 attacks. UCSB got off to a solid start, hitting .562 in the opening game and .432 in the second. In contrast, UC Irvine hit .364 and .395. For the match, the Anteaters hit .484 and the Gauchos swung at a .400 clip. UCSB out-blocked Irvine, 10.5-9.0, while the Anteaters led in digs, 48-42. The Anteaters had six aces and 17 service errors. Patak had a team co-high nine digs, two blocks, and both of UCSB's aces to go along with his 36 kills. David Kennedy had 17 kills, hit .517, and added five blocks and Theo Brunner finished with 10 kills and five blocks. Bart Kowalski racked up 72 assists for the Gauchos and libero Ben Brockman had nine digs. All-American Jayson Jablonsky hit .523 with a team-high 28 kills for Irvine. Matt Webber recorded 21 kills and both he and Jablonsky had double-doubles with 11 digs apiece. David Smith hit .667 with 13 kills and one error in 18 attacks.

After trailing two games to none, UCSB rallied to upset No. 3 UCLA, 3-2, Wednesday in Santa Barbara. Scores of the match went 31-33, 27-30, 30-28, 30-27, and 15-6. It was UCSB's first win against UCLA since April 22, 2002 when the Gauchos took a 3-2 victory in Los Angeles. The Bruins had won the previous 11 match-ups against UCSB, including a 3-0 sweep on Jan. 5 during the Elephant Bar Invitational. Evan Patak had five digs, three blocks, and two aces to go along with his match-high 31 kills. Aaron Richman finished with 15 kills, hit .462, and added nine digs, while Bryan Berman had 12 kills and six digs. David Kennedy had a career-high nine blocks for UCSB. UCLA got 22 kills from Garrett Muagututia. Paul George tallied a double-double with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Matt Wade had 12 digs and Steve Klosterman chipped in with 13 kills. Jamie Diefenbach had nine blocks as the Bruins out-blocked the Gauchos 15.5 to 12.5.

Long Beach State enters the week with a 4-2 overall record and sits in a tie for fourth (with Pepperdine) in the MPSF with a 2-1 mark. LBSU went 1-1 last week, taking a 3-2 victory over Pepperdine and losing in four against USC. The 49ers also have wins against Stanford, Pacific, and UC San Diego, while their other loss was vs. Cal State Northridge. Paul Lotman leads the team with 5.04 kills per game, while Dustin Watten has a team-best 50 digs. LBSU is out-hitting its opponents, .300 to .256 as four attackers are hitting over .300. LBSU is 40-7 at the Pyramid over the past three seasons. Prior to Friday's match-up against UCSB, the 49ers will host Cal State Northridge Wednesday at 7 p.m. For more info, visit

UC San Diego comes into the week 1-2 overall and in the MPSF, tied with USC for seventh place in the league. The Tritons host three matches this week, including Hope International Tuesday and Cal State Northridge Friday, prior to entertaining the Gauchos. Last week, UCSD lost to Pepperdine in four and rebounded to upset USC in four the next night. As a result, the Tritons received points in both polls this week. UCSD opened its season with a 3-0 loss against Long Beach State. Will Ehrman has a team-high 43 kills and 49.5 points as the Tritons are hitting just .184 as a team so far. For more information, go to

After defeating UCLA and taking UC Irvine to five games, the Gauchos moved up in both weekly polls, going from sixth to fourth in the latest CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll and fifth to third in the Volleyball Magazine Media Poll. The AVCA ranking is the highest for UCSB since the Gauchos were fourth in the final poll of the 2002 season. UCSB has been ranked as high as second on two occasions in the AVCA poll, most recently on Jan. 23, 2001.

Evan Patak has recorded 30 or more kills three times so far this season. The opposite hitter had a season-high 40 at Pacific (1/12), 36 at top-ranked UC Irvine (1/20), and 31 vs. UCLA (1/17). Only one other player in the nation has had 30 or more kills in a single match - Ball State's Nick Meyer totaled 30 in a four-gamer against George Mason (1/19). All three of Patak's performances have come in five-game matches.

IT'S PAT(ak)
Senior opposite hitter Evan Patak has consistently been UCSB's top offensive producer this year. He has put down 14 or more kills in all seven matches and has had at least one block and one ace in every contest. Patak has also recorded 20 more more points in all matches played and has accounted for 36% of UCSB's point total. He leads the Gauchos in kills (172), kills per game (6.14), attempts (336), aces (22), and points (203.5).

The Gauchos are out-hitting opponents .380-.328. Not only are four starters hitting over .300, but two of them are swinging at a .400+ clip. Theo Brunner leads the team with a torrid .496 (80-15-131) attack percentage, while David Kennedy is just behind at .471 (59-11-102). Evan Patak is next at .360 (172-51-336) and is followed by Bryan Berman, who's hitting .323 (47-17-93). As a team, UCSB has hit over .400 in five of its matches, including a season-high .478 (53-10-90) at Stanford. Last season, the Gauchos finished at .312 while opponents hit .346.

At the net, UCSB has outblocked opponents 70.0-55.5, good for a 2.50-1.98 blocks per game advantage. Five players are already in double-figure block totals as David Kennedy and Theo Brunner lead the roster with 33 and 27 blocks, respectively. Kennedy is averaging 1.22 blocks per game and set a new career-high with nine blocks vs. UCLA on Jan. 17. Others with at least 10 blocks include Evan Patak (18), Aaron Richman (13), and Bryan Berman (12). Setter Bart Kowalski is just under with nine.

In his 29th season as the head coach of the UCSB men's volleyball program, Ken Preston needs just nine more wins for 500 in his career. Currently, Preston holds an overall record of 491-353 (.582) since taking over the reigns in 1979. Preston has 18 winning seasons under his belt, including eight campaigns with 20 or more victories.

Three Gauchos have recorded double-doubles this season:
Evan Patak (1): 40 kills, 13 digs at Pacific (1/12)
Aaron Richman (1): 14 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)
Armen Zakarian (1): 11 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)

UCSB received National Letters of Intent from four high school seniors during the NCAA's early signing period in November. Ben Douglas (Mountain View, Calif.), Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Blaine Nielsen (Corona del Mar, Calif.), and Jake Scalise (San Marcos, Calif.) committed to play for the Gauchos in 2008. Douglas is a 6'6" outside hitter from Mountain View High School. A member of the Spartans' varsity team since he was a freshman, Douglas is in his fourth year with the Bay to Bay Volleyball Club. Menzel is a local standout from San Marcos High School. The 6'5" opposite/outside hitter is a two-time All-CIF honoree and a 2006 All-Channel League First Team member. A versatile athlete, Menzel is also a first team all-league basketball player and a wide receiver on the Royals' football team. Menzel's sister, Erica, played for the Gauchos' women's squad from 2000-03 and was a two-time All-Big West First Team pick as well as an all-region selection in 2002. Nielsen is a 6'4" outside hitter out of Corona del Mar High School. A 2006 All-Pacific Coast League selection, Nielsen captained the Sea Kings to a league title and a second place finish in CIF Division II. In 2005, Corona del Mar won the CIF crown. At the club level, Nielsen captained Balboa Bay to Junior Olympics bronze medals in 2005 and 2006. Scalise is a 6'2" outside hitter from Mission Hills High School of the Division II Valley League. An all-league first team and San Diego County all-section pick, Scalise was also tabbed Mission Hills' MVP. An excellent student, he is a two-time member of the league's all-academic team.