No. 4 Spikers Travel West to No. 9 Hawai'i for a Pair of MPSF Matches

No. 4 Spikers Travel West to No. 9 Hawai'i for a Pair of MPSF Matches

Feb. 6, 2007

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Thursday, February 8, 10 p.m. (PT)
No. 4 UCSB at No. 9 Hawai'i
Stan Sheriff Center
Honolulu, Hawai'i

Friday, February 9, 10 p.m. (PT)
No. 4 UCSB at No. 9 Hawai'i
Stan Sheriff Center
Honolulu, Hawai'i

Last Meeting: 1/14/06 at UCSB
Result: Hawai'i 3, UCSB 1 (36-34, 28-30, 30-28, 30-21)
2006 Series: Tied 1-1
2007 Series: 0-0
All-Time Series Record: Hawai'i leads 39-22
Last UCSB Win: 1/13/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, Hawai'i 0 (30-27, 30-28, 30-25)
Current Streak: Hawai'i, one win

UCSB had its three-match win streak snapped Saturday as No. 4 Pepperdine took a 3-0 MPSF victory at Robertson Gymnasium in front of a season-high 1,068 fans. Senior opposite hitter Evan Patak tallied a match-high 24 kills but it wasn't enough as UCSB hit a season-low .280. Scores of the match were 32-30, 33-31, and 30-18 in favor of the Waves, who won their fourth straight match. Pepperdine hit .455 for the match and out-blocked UCSB 12.5 to 3.0. The Gauchos posted 61 kills and 28 errors in 118 swings to finish with the season-low .260 attack percentage. In game one, UCSB played from behind early before a pair of Patak kills put the Gauchos up 10-8. UCSB pushed its lead to as many as six points before the Waves climbed back into the game. A five-point run brought Pepperdine within one at 24-23, but UCSB kept the lead and then went up 29-26 on blocks by middle hitter Theo Brunner and outside hitter Bryan Berman. Pepperdine negated three-straight game points by UCSB and tied it at 29-29 on a John Parfitt kill, a Paul Carroll ace, and a UCSB hitting error. Following a timeout by the Gauchos, Brunner hammered a kill for the side out, putting UCSB up 30-29. Carroll tied it back up with a kill, and then a UCSB hitting error and blocks by Tom Hulse and Jon Grobe iced the win for the Waves. Patak had 10 of his kills in the opening game, while Carroll had nine of his team-best 19. Each side had three blocks and Pepperdine hit .357 to UCSB's .308. UCSB led by as many as four points in game two. The Gauchos led most of the game until Pepperdine tied it 23-23 with blocks from Hulse and Jonathan Winder. Two Brunner kills and a Wave attack error gave UCSB a 26-23 advantage, but Pepperdine tied the game again at 27-27, forcing UCSB to take a time out. Following the break, middle hitter David Kennedy put away a kill and an ensuing Pepperdine error brought the Gauchos to game point at 29-27. UCSB couldn't put the game away and two straight kills from Grobe and Parfitt evened the game at 29-29. Patak gave UCSB another game-point with a kill, but Greg Gaudino came back with a kill of his own to keep pace at 30-30. The squads traded kills before two Carroll kills gave the game, and the momentum, to Pepperdine. In the second stanza, the Waves hit a solid .516, while UCSB attacked at a .375 clip. Patak had nine kills in the game, while both Gaudino and Carroll had five apiece. The third game was all Pepperdine as the Waves hit .483 to the Gauchos' match-low .154. Blocks were 6.5 to 0 in favor of Pepperdine. UCSB's Michael Fisher had a kill to knot the score at 3-3, but Pepperdine scored four unanswered points and the Gauchos would never recover. For UCSB, Brunner finished with 11 kills, hit .667 and totaled four blocks. Kennedy had 12 kills and hit .350, while Patak had the 24 kills in 49 attacks, but hit .265, his second-lowest percentage of the year. Libero Ben Brockman tallied a match co-high seven digs and setter Bart Kowalski had 46 assists. Gaudino hit .889 for the Waves, recording eight kills and no errors in nine attacks. Hulse finished with eight blocks and Tanner Sutherland had a match co-high seven digs. Winder ended up with 43 assists.

UCSB made quick work of No. 13 USC on Jan. 31 with a 3-0 victory at Robertson Gymnasium. The Gauchos used a blistering attack and relentless blocking to pick up their third straight MPSF win. Scores of the match were 30-16, 30-16, and 30-18. The Gauchos set the pace in the opening game by hitting an impressive .762 with 16 kills and no errors in 21 attacks. UCSB jumped out to an 8-0 lead as Theo Brunner recorded the first kill of the match and Evan Patak then served seven straight points. UCSB pushed its lead to 12 points when a Patak ace made it 19-7. The torrid Gaucho attack continued and UCSB went up by 15 points at 27-12. Patak had five of his match-high 12 kills in the first set, while Brunner, David Kennedy, Bart Kowalski, and Patak all had two blocks in the frame. UCSB had five total team blocks in the game and Bryan Berman, Brunner, and Patak all hit .800 or better. The Trojans hit a dismal .036 with 10 kills and nine errors in 28 attacks in game one. Game two was tied at 2-2 before a USC service error gave UCSB the lead for good. Kowalski had two consecutive kills to go along with an Aaron Richman/Kennedy block and a Trojan attack error to cap a four-point run and give the Gauchos a 22-11 advantage. Brunner, Patak, and Richman all had four kills in the game. The Gauchos took control of game three following a Trojan service error that led to a four-point run, putting UCSB up 7-3. Kennedy ended up with five kills in the game, while Brunner added three more blocks to his total. UCSB finished with 46 kills and just seven errors in 77 swings, good for a season-high .506 hitting percentage. Kennedy had nine kills and no errors to hit .818 and Brunner totaled 10 kills and no errors to hit .667. Both players recorded five blocks as UCSB out-blocked USC 11.5-3.0. The Gauchos, who never trailed in the match, were also stellar from the service line, dropping in 12 aces, seven of those coming off the hand of Patak. Aaron Richman had a match-high seven digs. USC hit just .108 in the match. Juan Figueroa led the Trojans with seven kills, while Hunter Current had six and Matt Pavlovich totaled five. Luke Morris and Jonathan Hackett each had four digs. It was the second sweep for UCSB over USC this season. The Gauchos have won the previous six matches against the Trojans.

No. 9 Hawai'i enters the week 2-6 overall and is ninth in the MPSF with a 2-4 mark. The Warriors, who have been ranked as high as No. 3 this season, have lost their last four matches and are coming off of a two-match setback at UCLA last week. Both victories for Hawai'i came at home against Pacific - a three-game sweep Jan. 18 and a four-game win the next night. The Warriors have been struggling from the service line, committing 141 errors while recording just 17 aces. Several players are ranked nationally in stats - Dio Dante is fourth in attack percentage (.535) and tied for 17th in blocking (1.24 BPG); Matt Rawson is tied for 12th in blocking (1.30 BPG); Jim Clar is 13th in kills per game (4.50) and 17th in points per game (4.83); Brian Beckwith is 19th in assists per game (12.11). In MPSF matches, Hawai'i is ranked second among league teams in blocking with 3.45 per game. The Thursday match against UCSB will start a four-match home stand for the Warriors.

After climbing one spot in the previous two AVCA polls, UCSB has dropped a slot to No. 4 in the most recent listing. The Gauchos have been ranked as high as third this season. UCSB has been ranked second, its highest-ever, on two occasions in the AVCA poll, most recently on Jan. 23, 2001.

Nationally, Evan Patak is first in total kills (243), total aces (41), and aces per game (1.025). The opposite is third in kills per game (6.08), and points per game (7.50). Middle Theo Brunner is fifth in hitting (.528), while middle David Kennedy is ninth in that category (.503). Setter Bart Kowalski is fifth in assists per game (13.59). As a team, UCSB is second in hitting (.387), behind Ohio State (.410).

In Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches only, Evan Patak leads all league players in kills (193), kills per game (6.43), aces (32), aces per game (1.07), points (238.0) and points per game (7.93). David Kennedy is third in hitting (.533), followed by Theo Brunner in fourth (.520). Bart Kowalski is first in total assists (393) and tied for second in assists per game (13.55). Bryan Berman is tied for sixth in aces per game (0.30). As a team, the Gauchos lead in hitting (.388), total kills (499), kills per game (16.63), total aces (59), aces per game (1.97), and total assists (472). UCSB is second in assists per game (15.73), sixth in digs per game (9.30), and 11th in blocks per game (2.65).

In his 29th season as the head coach of the UCSB men's volleyball program, Ken Preston needs just six more wins for 500 in his career. Currently, Preston holds an overall record of 494-355 (.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)

For the Pepperdine match on Feb. 3, UCSB's Robertson Gymnasium hosted 1,068 fans. The last time UCSB totaled over 1,000 fans was April 17, 2004 when exactly 1,000 watched UCLA take a 3-1 win.

Evan Patak has recorded 12 or more kills in all 11 matches...Patak has hit under .300 just three times and over .400 in six matches...He had a season-high seven aces against USC on Jan. 31 and has tallied six aces three times this season...Patak has totaled 20.0 or more points in all matches...Bart Kowalski has posted a set percentage of .572, with 462 of his 808 sets going for assists...UCSB's current .387 hitting percentage is almost 40 points higher than the school's single-season record (.348 in 2002)...Theo Brunner hit .667 in both of his last two matches...He has had just on error in his last 30 swings...Brunner has at least three blocks in all 11 matches and five blocks in five matches...David Kennedy tied a career-best by hitting .818 against USC last week...Kennedy, like Brunner, also has five matches with five or more blocks...UCSB's .280 hitting percentage against Pepperdine last week was its second-lowest of the season, ahead of the .267 clip the Gauchos swung at against UCLA on Jan. 17...UCSB has hit .400 or better in eight matches.

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.