April 4, 2007

No. 5 UCSB Will Host No. 7 Cal State Northridge on Senior Night

April 4, 2007

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The Schedule
Friday, April 6 - 7 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB vs. No. 7 Cal State Northridge
Robertson Gymnasium
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Against Cal State Northridge:
Last Meeting: 2/28/07 at Northridge
Result: CSUN 3, UCSB 1 (23-30, 30-23, 30-27, 30-26)
2007 Series: Tied 1-1
2006 Series: CSUN led 3-0
All-Time Series: UCSB leads 41-27
Last UCSB Win: 1/6/07 at UCSB
Result: UCSB 3, CSUN 1 (30-25, 24-30, 30-17, 30-22)
Current Streak: CSUN one win

Gauchos Top Stanford for the Seventh Straight Time
UCSB hit a scorching .447 en route to a 3-0 sweep over Stanford March 31 at Robertson Gymnasium. Evan Patak tallied a match-high 18 kills to bring his career total to 1,987. Scores of the match went 30-25, 30-26, and 30-26. UCSB dropped in 61 kills with 15 errors in 103 attacks. It was the first time the Gauchos had hit over .400 since Feb. 17 when they swung at .462 in a three-game win over Long Beach State. Patak hit .452 and added two digs, two blocks, and an ace. The Gauchos got solid play from their middles as Theo Brunner put away 14 kills and hit .650 and David Kennedy had seven kills and a match-best five blocks. Outside Bryan Berman totaled 11 kills and hit .526, while he and libero Tyson Norton each had a match-high nine digs. Sophomore setter Max Klineman racked up 52 assists and four blocks. Stanford, which entered the match hitting under .200 for the season, posted a .333 percentage. The Cardinal was led by Evan Romero's 14 kills and three service aces. Matt Ceran and Kawika Shoji each had 12 kills, while Shoji and Jarod Keller finished with six digs apiece. Setter Miki Groppi had 39 assists. UCSB swept the season series with Stanford as it took a 3-0 victory Jan. 13 at Stanford. The Gauchos have won the last seven contests between the two squads dating back to the 2004 season.

It Takes Five to Make a Thing Go Right
For the second time this season, UCSB went five games with Pacific and picked up a victory March 30 at Robertson Gymnasium. Evan Patak pounded a match-high 30 kills and sophomore setter Max Klineman tallied a season-high 58 assists to lead the Gauchos to a .362 hitting percentage. Pacific won the opening game 34-32 before UCSB clamped down to win the next two by scores of 30-19 and 30-17. The Tigers out-hit the Gauchos .344 to .194 in game four to win 30-21, but UCSB closed out the match with a 15-11 victory in the fifth frame. Patak recorded the 30 kills with just six errors in 58 swings, good for a .414 attack percentage. It was the sixth time this season that the two-time All-American had totaled 30 or more kills. Patak also added four service aces, four blocks, and three digs. Three other Gauchos hit double-digits in kills as middle Theo Brunner had 14, middle David Kennedy amassed 11, and outside Bryan Berman added 10. Libero Tyson Norton set a new career-high with 17 digs as UCSB dredged up 50 balls on the night. Pacific, which hit .236 for the match, had two players with double-doubles as Pekka Seppanen posted 21 kills and 12 digs and Maor Nutkevitch finished with 14 kills and 13 digs. Simon Chen-Byerley chipped in with 10 kills and setter Garrett Morales had 46 helpers. Pacific started strong at the net, out-blocking UCSB 6-0 in the first game and then holding an 8-3 advantage after two games. However, the Gauchos turned the tables and out-blocked the Tigers 10.5-1 over the next three sets to finish with 13.5 blocks to Pacific's 9. Brunner led all players with six total blocks.

Valley Voice
Cal State Northridge enters the week with a 16-12 overall record and is tied for fifth (with UCLA) in the MPSF with a 10-9 mark. CSUN needs one win in its final three matches to clinch a spot in the MPSF tourney. The Matadors closed out their home regular season with 3-1 wins over Stanford and Pacific last week. After Friday's match in Santa Barbara, CSUN plays at Pepperdine (4/12) and at USC (4/16) to finish the regular season. The Matadors No. 7 ranking in the AVCA poll this week is its second-highest of the season (6th on 2/5). Dan Rhodes leads the team in kills, averaging 4.23 a game with a .301 hitting percentage. James Lischer is hitting .447 with a team-high 93 blocks. Rhodes and Isaac Kneubuhl are the team leaders in digs, each averaging 1.54 per game. Travis Bluemling and Sean Pedersen have split setting duties, averaging 11.45 and 7.96 assists per game, respectively. Northridge is hitting .301 while opponents are swinging at .262. The Matadors are 11-4 at home and 3-7 on the road this season.

Patak Named MPSF Player of the Week
Evan Patak was named the MPSF Co-Player of the Week this Monday. Patak averaged 6.0 kills and 7.12 points per game while hitting .427 over two wins against Pacific and Stanford. He totaled 48 kills, six blocks, five aces, five digs, and 57.0 points in eight games. In the 3-2 victory over Pacific on March 30, Patak recorded a match-high 30 kills, the sixth time this year he has had 30 or more. He hit .414 with six errors in 58 attempts and added four aces, four blocks, three digs, and 37.0 points. In a 3-0 sweep over Stanford the next night, Patak again had a match-high with 18 kills, hitting .452 with four errors in 31 swings. He also had two digs, two blocks, an ace, and 20.0 points. It is the third time this season that Patak has received the honor and he shares this week's accolades with Dio Dante, a middle blocker from the University of Hawai'i.

Senioritis
Friday's match will be the final career regular season contest for nine Gaucho seniors - Bryan Berman, David Kennedy, Bart Kowalski, Tyson Norton, Derek Otte, Evan Patak, Aaron Richman, Drew Wilson, and Armen Zakarian.

The MPSF Tourney Picture
UCSB, along with Pepperdine, UC Irvine, and BYU, has clinched a spot in the eight-team MPSF Tournament and can assure itself of hosting a quarterfinal by winning two of its final three regular season matches. The play-in match for the seventh seed will be contested April 18. The MPSF's top seed, which Pepperdine can clinch with one win this week, receives a bye in the quarters, which will be held April 21 on campus sites. The semis (April 26) and finals (April 28) will be played on the campus of the #1 seed. The tournament winner gets an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships May 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio.

Poll Position
Here's a week-by-week look at where UCSB has stood in the AVCA Coaches Poll this season:
• April 2 - 5th • March 26 - 5th • March 19 - 5th • March 12 - 4th • March 5 - 4th • Feb. 26 - 4th • Feb. 19 - 3rd • Feb. 12 - T 3rd • Feb. 5 - 4th • Jan. 29 - 3rd • Jan. 22 - 4th • Jan. 15 - 6th; • Jan. 8 - 6th • Preseason - 6th
The Gauchos have been ranked second, their highest-ever, on two occasions in the AVCA poll, most recently on Jan. 23, 2001.

On the National Front
Gauchos among the national statistics leaders (all matches):
•Ben Brockman: 19th in digs (2.13)
•Theo Brunner: 3rd in hitting (.540)
•David Kennedy: 17th in hitting (.423)
•Bart Kowalski: 12th in assists (12.28)
•Evan Patak: 1st in aces (1.020), 1st in points (6.97), 3rd in kills (5.57)
•UCSB: 3rd in hitting (.360)

In the MPSF
Gauchos among the MPSF statistics leaders (MPSF matches only):
•Bryan Berman: 8th in aces (0.31)
•Ben Brockman: 5th in digs (2.04)
•Theo Brunner: 2nd in hitting (.518)
•David Kennedy: 4th in hitting (.442)
•Bart Kowalski: 8th in assists (11.91)
•Evan Patak: 1st in kills (5.76), 1st in aces (1.08), 1st in points (7.27)
•UCSB: 1st in hitting (.361), 1st in aces (1.89), 2nd in kills (16.10), 2nd in assists (15.17), 6th in digs (9.01), 10th in blocks (2.58)

A Patak on the Back
Two-time All-American Evan Patak has been UCSB's offensive workhorse this season. Not only does he have a team-high 546 kills, he's accounted for 1,084 of UCSB's 3,054 attempts this season (35%). The next closest Gaucho is middle Theo Brunner with 480 swings, 604 fewer than Patak. The opposite has led UCSB in attempts in all 27 matches to date. Patak has posted 40 or more attacks 12 times this year, with a season-high 71 at Hawai'i (2/8). He's had double-digit kills in all but two contests and has put down 30 or more in six matches. Patak has led UCSB in kills in 24 matches has gathered a team-high in points 25 times.

Hitting New Heights
At .360, UCSB is third in the country in attack percentage and leads the MPSF, hitting .361 in league matches. UCSB has hit over .400 11 times and posted a season-high .506 percentage against USC Jan. 31. The Gauchos are on pace to to set a new single season record for hitting as the current mark is .348 in 2002. Opponents are swinging at .319 this year.

Ace (west of) Ventura
UCSB has been dangerous from the service line all season, collecting a single season record 189 aces to date. The Gauchos lead the MPSF with an average of 1.89 aces per game in league matches. Evan Patak has a school single season record 100 aces this year and continues to lead the nation in that category at 1.020 per game. The next closest player in total aces is Paul Carroll of Pepperdine, who has 50. Patak holds UCSB's career ace record with an amazing 245. In comparison, teammate Bryan Berman is second on the list with 89. Patak and Berman have accounted for 128 of UCSB's 189 aces this season, 68%. Opponents have aced the Gauchos 127 times.

Milestone/Record Watch
Evan Patak needs 13 kills for 2,000 in his career...With 26 assists at Cal Baptist March 27, Bart Kowalski moved into fifth on UCSB's all-time career list with 2,810...Bryan Berman is 11 aces short of 100 for his career, which would make him just the second Gaucho in history with triple-digit aces (Patak is the other)...Berman needs 18 more digs for 500 in his career...At .540, Theo Brunner is on pace to smash his own single season hitting record of .486, set in 2005...Brunner owns UCSB's top two hitting records as he posted a .439 clip in 2006...Brunner needs just one more kill for 800 in his career...At .360, UCSB is on pace to break its single season hitting mark of .348, set in 2002...The Gauchos set a new single season record for aces this year...Ken Preston collected his 500th career win this season.

Preston Joins Half-Grand Club
With a 3-0 sweep at IPFW March 3, UCSB head coach Ken Preston collected his 500th career victory. Preston has 18 winning seasons under his belt, including eight campaigns with 20 or more victories. He is UCSB's second active coach to eclipse the 500-win plateau at the school. Hall of Famer Kathy Gregory, who just completed her 32nd year as head coach of the women's volleyball program, picked up her 500th career win in 1995. Women's basketball coach Mark French has 500+ career wins, but not all have come at UCSB.

Double-Double With Cheese
Three Gauchos have recorded a total of five double-doubles this season:
•Evan Patak (2): 32 kills, 17 digs at Hawai'i (2/8); 40 kills, 13 digs at Pacific (1/12)
•Aaron Richman (2): 10 kills, 10 digs at UCLA (2/23); 14 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)
•Armen Zakarian (1): 11 kills, 10 digs vs. Cal State Northridge (1/6)

Grand Attendance
For the Pepperdine match on Feb. 3, UCSB's Robertson Gymnasium hosted 1,068 fans. It was the highest attendance figure since 1,422 packed in on Jan. 27, 2001 vs. Stanford. The attendance record for a UCSB match is 4,310 against UCLA on April 22, 1983 in the Thunderdome. The Robertson Gymnasium record is 2,935 vs. UCLA on April 12, 1997.

UCSB Grabs Four During Early Signing Period
Ben Douglas (Mountain View, Calif.), Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Blaine Nielsen (Corona del Mar, Calif.), and Jake Scalise (San Marcos, Calif.) have 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. 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.

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