Volleyball Heads to Cal State Northridge Wednesday in Light Week

March 5, 2008

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The Schedule
Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m.
No. 13 UCSB at No. 3 Cal State Northridge
The Matadome
Northridge, Calif.
Online Audio: GoMatadors.com
Gametracker: UCSBGauchos.com

Against Cal State Northridge
Last Meeting: 1/19/08 at UCSB
Result: CSUN 3, UCSB 1 (31-33, 30-28, 30-24, 30-24)
2008 Series: CSUN leads 2-0
2007 Series: UCSB led 2-1
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 42-29
Last UCSB Win: 4/6/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, CSUN 0 (30-24, 31-29, 30-21)
Current Streak: CSUN two wins

KCSB Gets in on the Action
KCSB 91.9 FM and KCSB.org will be broadcasting several of UCSB's remaining regular season matches, including: Saturday, Apr. 5 vs. UC Irvine (online only), Friday, Apr. 11 vs. Long Beach State (radio and online), and Saturday, Apr. 12 against UC San Diego (online only). Other matches may be added, so be sure to check the broadcast schedule at KCSB.org.

Track the Matches Online
For the first time ever, UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online with Gametracker. All home matches and select road contests will be included. Just log on to UCSBGauchos.com, go to the men's volleyball schedule, and click on the Gametracker link for the match you're interested in. You can follow each point, keep track of player statistics, and view player bios. Gametracker is free of charge and works on PCs and Macs.

UCSB Upset at UC San Diego
UCSB was upset in straight sets by UC San Diego Feb. 29 at RIMAC Arena with scores coming in at 30-27, 30-22, and 30-24. It was just the second time in 34 all-time meetings that the Tritons had topped the Gauchos and the first time in school history that UCSD has swept an MPSF opponent. The Tritons' only other in-league victory was a 3-1 downing of reigning national champion UC Irvine back in January. Strong hitting propelled UCSD to the win as the Tritons hit .420 with 50 kills and 16 errors in 81 attacks. Santa Barbara hit .244 with 39 kills and 19 miscues in 82 swings. The Gauchos were led by Jeff Menzel with 13 kills, two aces, and 15.5 points. Theo Brunner had 14 kills and hit .435, while Andy McGuire had a team high four digs. UCSD, which used just seven players, was paced by Frank Fritsch with a match best 17 kills. Jason Spangler added 12 kills, while Russ Hardy hit .538 with nine kills and two errors in 13 sets. UCSB is now 32-2 all-time against UC San Diego. The first time the Tritons topped the Gauchos was April 9, 2004 in La Jolla. It was a five-gamer with scores going 33-35, 33-31, 30-22, 28-30, and 15-12 in favor of UCSD.

Gauchos Take Long Beach to Five Games but Fall Short
Theo Brunner put away a career high 26 kills, but it wasn't enough as UCSB lost in five games at Long Beach State March 1. The Gauchos came back from two games down, but couldn't put the match away. Game scores from the Gold Mine were 30-27, 30-28, 28-30, 25-30, and 15-13. In game five, the Gauchos scored three consecutive points on a Mike Runkle kill, a block, and a Cullen Irons ace to take a 12-9 lead. However, the 49ers came right back with three scores of their own on a Paul Lotman kill and a pair of UCSB attack errors. Brunner put Santa Barbara up 13-12 with his final kill of the match, but LBSU reeled off another three straight points to secure the victory. A kill by Dan Alexander evened the game at 13-13 and an ace by Lotman gave Long Beach its first lead of the game. A Gaucho hitting error put an end to the match. Brunner's 26 kills eclipsed his previous career high of 25, set this season against Hawai'i. The middle blocker also set a new career best with 28.5 points as he added three blocks - two solos and one assisted. Jeff Menzel had 22 kills, six digs, three blocks, and 24.5 points. Vince DeVany amassed a career high 60 assists from the setter position. Ben Brockman had a match high 16 digs. For Long Beach, Dean Bittner had 24 kills and Lotman followed with 20. The 49ers out-blocked the Gauchos 14 to 9 as Tommy Pestolesi had seven blocks and Alexander had six. UCSB out-hit Long Beach .286 (70-30-140) to .240 (62-27-146) and also held a 48-32 advantage in digs. The Gauchos had leads in all five games.

Give Me a Brock, Man
Senior Ben Brockman spent most of last season as the starting libero for UCSB. This season, redshirt freshman Andy McGuire has been the primary libero in all but one match. Brockman got the nod at Long Beach State on March 1. Playing in all five games, he registered a season high 16 digs, just one short of his career best. He also added a career high three assists in the loss.

Vince Hints
True freshman setter Vince DeVany got his first career start at Long Beach State on March 1 and he didn't disappoint. Devany recorded a pair of career highs with 60 assists and eight digs in the five-game match.

The Man in the Irons Mask
Redshirt freshman Cullen Irons also produced some career numbers in the Long Beach State match. He collected six kills and five blocks, both career bests. Irons hit 1.000 and added an assist, an ace, and 9.5 points.

Are You Experienced?
UCSB's starting lineup looks quite a bit different than it did last season. Of the regular starters this year, only senior middle Theo Brunner and junior setter Max Klineman have extensive collegiate playing experience. On the outside, senior Phil Mathews has played in 29 career matches, 17 of those coming this season. Junior Mike Runkle, also on the outside, had played in three matches prior to 2008. Sophomore middle Sam Moisenco played in eight matches as a freshman last season, while middle Scott Slaughter and libero Andy McGuire are both redshirt freshman. Finally, opposite Jeff Menzel is a true freshman.

Opposites Attract
True freshman Jeff Menzel has been the go-to guy on the UCSB attack. The opposite has led the Gauchos in swings in 15 of 17 matches and has posted team high kill totals in 10 contests. The Santa Barbara native has 655 attack attempts this season, 271 more than the next Gaucho on the list. With an average of 4.80 kills per game, Menzel is ranked fourth nationally and third in the MPSF. With 5.48 points per game, he is fifth in the country and third among conference players. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills 16 times and 20 or more in eight matches.

Brunner Banter
Middle blocker Theo Brunner recorded the 1,000th kill of his career earlier this season, becoming just the 10th Gaucho in school history to reach the mark. He has had 10 or more kills in 10 of 15 matches played, including a career high 26 at Long Beach State (3/1). He also had a career best 28.5 points in that match. Brunner also set a new career high this season with eight digs at UC Irvine (1/4) and tied a career best with eight blocks on two occasions, the first at Pacific (2/9) and the second at UC Irvine (2/23).

Dandy Andy
Redshirt freshman Andy McGuire has started at libero in 16 of 17 matches this season and is averaging 2.32 digs per game, ranked 16th in the country. On four occasions he has totaled 10 or more digs, including a career high 20 vs. Hawai'i (2/1). McGuire holds a .966 reception percentage with just 17 errors in 499 attempts.

Redshirt? I Don't Need no Stinking Redshirt!
True freshman setter Vince DeVany made his collegiate debut Jan. 26 against Pacific at Rob Gym. Originally scheduled to redshirt the 2008 season, Devany dressed against the Tigers and recorded his first career kill on his first career attempt. He also added four assists in the win. Devany and opposite Jeff Menzel are the only true freshman that have seen the floor so far for the Gauchos. Ben Douglas, Blaine Nielsen, Jordan Nuni, Jake Scalise, and Alex Williams are still scheduled to redshirt this year.

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 began his UCSB head coaching career in 1979. In 29 seasons, he 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. A search for Preston's successor will take place in the spring. Preston will remain on staff through 2008 and 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 a pair 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 as a libero. 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.

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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