March 13, 2006

No. 7 UCSB to Host No. 6 Cal State Northridge Wednesday at Robertson Gym

March 13, 2006

This Week's Matchups:
Wednesday, March 14, 7:05 p.m.
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara vs. No.6 Cal State Northridge
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Robertson Gym

The Skinny
The Gauchos enter the week with a 12-10 overall record and a 9-9 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCSB is coming off a 2-1 week in which they swept both Lewis University and Stanford and lost to Pacific. In the match versus Lewis at Rob Gym, UCSB never trailed, coasting to a 30-25, 30-25, 30-16 victory. UCSB then traveled north, sweeping Stanford 30-25, 30-21, 30-26 on the back of junior opposite Evan Patak's 23 kills. The next night, Patak would impress again with an astounding 27 kills in just three games, but the Brian Adamson-led Tigers cruised to a three-game sweep, 30-27, 30-22, 30-28.

At 8-8 in the MPSF, the Gauchos stand in a tie for sixth place with this week's opponent Cal State Northridge who owns a 7-7 league record. Wednesday's match will be the second meeting between the Gauchos and the Matadors in 2006. On January 7 in the UCSB/EBar Invitational, Northridge swept UCSB to claim third place in the tournament. Northridge was led in the match by Dan Rhodes who finished with 14 kills.

Scouting the Opponent
Cal State Northridge enters the week with a 12-8 overall record and a 7-7 conference mark. The Matadors are also coming of a 2-1 week in which they suffered a loss to now-No. 14 Pacific. Northridge came out on the winning end of sweeps over a Quincy and Stanford, later in the week. CSUN is led by Dan Rhodes, a junior opposite who averages 4.13 kills per game.

Patak Yourself on the Back
Junior opposite Evan Patak is coming off yet another jaw-dropping week. In three three-game matches last week, Patak spiked 65 kills, an average of 7.22 per game. On the season, the Pleasanton, Calif. Native is averaging 5.81 kills per game and 0.71 aces per game. His 45 service aces is the second-highest single season total in UCSB history, bested only by his own mark of 58 set last year. Patak's 65 kills last week moved him into third place all-time in career kills at UCSB ahead of David Rottman (1,327), Eric Fonoimoana (1,331) and Amaury Velasco (1,332). With 1,344 career kills, Patak needs just under three hundred more to surpass Kevin Collins for second place all-time and Donny Harris' standard of 2,114 will likely be beyond Patak's reach this year. Having already cemented himself the all-time leader at UCSB in aces Patak's now has 138 under his belt.

Long Distance Brunner
Sophomore middle blocker Theo Brunner, a UCSB record-holder himself, is on track to finish with the second-highest hitting percentage all-time as a Gaucho. The only other Gaucho to finish with a hitting percentage better than Brunner's current .448 clip? Himself. Last year, Brunner hit .486 in his freshman season.