No. 14 Gauchos Play at No. 7 UCLA Wednesday, Host No. 9 UC Irvine Saturday

April 2, 2008

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The Schedule
Wednesday, Apr. 2, 7 p.m.
No. 14 UCSB at No. 7 UCLA
Pauley Pavilion
Los Angeles, Calif.
Online Audio: UCLABruins.com

Saturday, Apr. 5, 7 p.m.
No. 14 UCSB vs. No. 9 UC Irvine
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.
KCSB Online Broadcast: KCSB.org
Gametracker: UCSBGauchos.com

Against UCLA
Last Meeting: 2/20/08 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, UCLA 1 (30-21, 31-29, 25-30, 30-24)
2008 Series: UCSB leads 1-0
2007 Series: Tied 2-2
All-Time Series Record: UCLA leads 111-29
Last UCLA Win: 2/23/07 at UCLA
Result: UCLA 3, UCSB 1 (30-28, 30-24, 30-32, 30-19)
Current Streak: UCSB two wins

Against UC Irvine
Last Meeting: 2/23/08 at UCI
Result: UCI 3, UCSB 0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-28)
2008 Series: UCI leads 2-0
2007 Series: UCI led 2-0
All-Time Series Record: UCSB leads 43-15
Last UCSB Win: 1/6/06 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, UCI 2 (30-24, 30-27, 27-30, 28-30, 15-10)
Current Streak: UCI six 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. Make sure you have Java installed and enabled.

Gauchos Swept in Five Games and Three Games at BYU
In a near upset, UCSB took Brigham Young to five games on Mar. 28 but ended up losing as the Cougars hit over .550 in the fifth and deciding set. Scores of the match, held in front of 2,060 fans at Smith Fieldhouse, were 25-30, 30-25, 29-31, 30-24, and 15-11 in favor of BYU. Outside hitter Ivan Perez proved to be too much for the Gaucho defense to handle as he led all players with 27 kills on 45 sets. He completed his eighth double-double of the season with a team-high 12 digs. Four Cougars had at least 14 kills on the night. BYU hit .330 for the match to UCSB's .245. The Cougars totaled 84 kills and the Gauchos had 63, while Santa Barbara found itself out-blocked 12 to 6.5. The Gauchos got a stellar match out of junior outside hitter Mike Runkle, who registered his third double-double of the year with 15 kills and a match-high 14 digs. Runkle set a new personal best for digs and tied his career-high in kills. He also hit a team-best .480. Opposite Jeff Menzel dropped in a team-high 19 kills while adding four digs and three blocks. However, Menzel hit just .088 with 14 errors in 57 attacks. Middle blocker Theo Brunner finished with 14 kills and outside Phil Mathew amassed a career-high 13 digs. UCSB came out of the gate strong and hit a solid .485 en route to the 30-25 win. BYU turned it around in game two, hitting over .300 while the Gauchos struggled and finished at .000. The Cougars had four blocks in the game. The third set was tied at 29-29 before a pair of BYU attack errors gave UCSB the 31-29 victory. BYU really stepped up its offense in games four and five, hitting .441 and .556, respectively. In the fifth set, BYU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never lost its lead. UCSB would never get closer than two points and a Jonathan Charette kill ended the match. Charette finished with 16 kills, Trent Sorensen had 15, and Russell Holmes totaled 14. Holmes, who leads the nation in blocks, had a match-high six. Four Cougars hit over .400 on the night.

BYU swept the season series the next night by cruising to a 3-0 victory. It is the third straight season BYU has swept the regular season series against the Gauchos. Scores went 30-20, 30-28, and 30-28. The Cougars have won the last six meetings. Redshirt freshman Jeff Robinson banged a match-high 18 kills while hitting .517. Three Cougars record double-digit kill totals as Perez had 12 and Charette added 11. Both squads hit over .300 with Brigham Young at .396 and Santa Barbara at .310. The Gauchos ended up out-blocking the Cougars 10 to 5. No Gauchos had more than ten kills. Menzel and Runkle led with eight apiece. Menzel , who had had more attack attempts in all but two matches entering tonight, had 14 and outside Mike Fisher ended with a team-high 18 sets. Fisher had seven kills, three digs and two blocks. UCSB came out and hit strong at .429 in game one, but it wasn't nearly enough as BYU swung at .667. Both teams were evenly matched in game two, which featured 17 tie scores. UCSB was within one point at 29-28 in the set, but a service error gave the game to the Cougars. The third set was tight until the Cougars started to pull away mid-way through. They led by as much as six at 24-18 before the Gauchos pulled two straight points on kills by Matt Thobe and Runkle. Santa Barbara would get within one at 27-26 on a BYU attack error and tie the game at 27 on another Cougar hitting miscue. Brigham Young came right to score two straight on a Holmes kill and a block by Holmes and Reed Chilton. Following a UCSB timeout, the Gauchos brought the score to 29-28 in favor of BYU after a service error. However, an attack error by the Gauchos gave the game and the match to the Cougars.

The Early Playoff Picture
The top eight squads in the MPSF make postseason play with the No. 7 finisher taking on No. 8 in a play-in to the MPSF Tournament. The top-seeded team (regular season champion) receives a bye in the MPSF quarterfinal round. If the regular season ended prior to this Wednesday's match, UCSB would miss the postseason as it currently sits in 10th place. Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, and BYU have already clinched a spot in the MPSF tourney.

Not Liking Kerouac's Work Too Much
UCSB cannot be a fan of Kerouac's "On the Road" this season. The Gauchos are a miserly 1-7 playing away from Robertson Gymnasium. Their lone road win came against Pacific on Feb. 9 in Stockton.

Double S Returns to the Lineup
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Scott Slaughter played against Cal Baptist on Mar. 25 after missing the previous seven contests due to an elbow injury. The last time Slaughter saw floor time was on Feb. 15 vs. UC Santa Cruz. He made the most of his return to the starting lineup, posting a triplet of career-highs including kills (9), blocks (7), and points (14.5). He also hit .727 (9-1-11) while adding an assist, an ace, and a pair of digs.

You're On the List
As a team, UCSB has broken into a couple of school single match top ten lists this year. The Gauchos' 17 service aces against Pacific on Jan. 5 is the most in the history of the program. The previous high was 16, set against Hawai'i in 1991. In addition, Santa Barbara posted 80 digs in the Feb. 1 match vs. Hawai'i in Honolulu. That number ranks fourth all-time for a single match.

Injuries Up the Middle
Even with middle blocker Scott Slaughter returning to the lineup recently, the Gauchos are still without middle Sam Moisenco, who up until this week was nationally-ranked in blocks per game. Moisenco last played on Feb. 29 at UC San Diego and has missed the team's last seven matches due to a left ankle injury.

Thobe or Not Thobe
Keeping with the middle blocker theme, Matt Thobe had a solid second match at BYU on Mar. 29 after not playing the night before. He tied a career-high with six kills and set a new personal best by hitting a perfect 1.000 (6-0-6). Thobe played in all four games at Cal State Northridge on Mar. 5. The junior estabished new career-highs with six kills, seven blocks, and 9.5 points. He also hit .455 with only one miscue in 11 swings. Thobe did not see any action in 2007 and played in just 17 games as a redshirt freshman in 2006. This season, he's contributed in 12 matches and 26 games.

Give Me a Brock, Man
Senior Ben Brockman spent most of last season as the starting libero for UCSB. This year, redshirt freshman Andy McGuire started at libero in UCSB's first 16 matches. However, Brockman has gotten the starting nod in the team's last seven contests. He kicked off his play with 17 digs at Long Beach State on Mar. 1 and followed that with 13 more at Northridge on Mar. 5. Since he's been starting, Brockman has averaged 2.56 digs per game over 25 games.

In"Vince"ible
True freshman setter Vince DeVany got his first career start at Long Beach State on Mar. 1 and he didn't disappoint. Devany recorded a pair of career-highs with 60 assists and eight digs in the five-game match. He has now started at setter in UCSB's last seven matches. Originally scheduled to redshirt the season, he got his first collegiate playing time on Jan. 26 vs. Pacific. He recorded his first career kill on his first career attempt in the match and added four assists in the win. Devany and Jeff Menzel are the only true freshmen to play this season for the Gauchos. Ben Douglas, Blaine Nielsen, Jordan Nuni, Jake Scalise, and Alex Williams are redshirting the season.

The Man in the Irons Mask
Redshirt freshman Cullen Irons produced some career numbers in the Long Beach State match on Mar. 1. He collected six kills and five blocks, both career-bests. Irons hit 1.000 and added an assist, an ace, and 9.5 points. More recently, he totaled a career-best four digs against Pepperdine on Mar. 15.

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 20 of 23 matches and has 851 attack attempts this season, 359 more than the next Gaucho on the list. With an average of 4.70 kills per game, Menzel is ranked fourth in the MPSF and sixth nationally. He also ranks fifth in the league and seventh in the nation with 5.35 points per game. Menzel has recorded 10 or more kills in all but two matches and 20 or more nine times. He's had 30 or more swings in 18 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 13 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). The 2007 All-American is averaging 3.5 kills, 4.2 points, and just under one block per game.

It Must be the Shoes
The men's volleyball team collected almost 200 pairs of shoes during its shoe drive on Feb. 20. On the night of the UCLA match at Robertson Gymnasium, 197 pairs of shoes and sneakers were donated. All of the product will in turn be given to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that distributes shoes to people and places in need on five continents. Many thanks to those that contributed!

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.

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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