May 2, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball players Theo Brunner and Evan Patak were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America First Team as it announced its 17th annual teams Wednesday.
Brunner, a junior middle blocker, ranks fourth in the nation in hitting percentage at .531, a UCSB single season record. A 2007 All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) First Team pick, Brunner hit over .600 in 11 matches and surpassed .700 on six occasions. The Ridgefield, Conn. native was second in the MPSF in hitting (.531) and led the Gauchos in blocks (120). This season, Brunner moved into the top-ten on UCSB's all-time blocks list and recorded his 800th career kill. He is a first time AVCA All-American.
A senior opposite hitter, Patak leads the country in kills (5.78/game), service aces (.948/game), and points (7.09/game). The 2007 All-MPSF First Team selection led the league in kills (5.98/game), aces (1.02/game), and points (7.40/game) in conference matches. The Pleasanton, Calif. native put down 30 or more kills seven times this season and set a new school single season record with an amazing 110 aces. He finished his illustrious career with 2,112 kills, second in program history, and is UCSB's all-time leader in aces with 255. Patak is the lone 2007 AVCA All-American making a second appearance on the first team. He was named to the first team in 2005 and garnered second team accolades in 2004.
Pepperdine setter Jonathan Winder was named the 2007 AVCA National Player of the Year, while BYU setter Yamil Perez was named the Newcomer of the Year, an award won by Patak in 2003.
UC Irvine placed four players on AVCA All-America teams, while three BYU Cougars were honored. Pepperdine and UCLA joined UCSB with two players gaining all-America status.
The 2007 selections were made by the AVCA Men's Volleyball All-America Committee: chairperson Sean Byron (Rutgers-Newark); Jeff Campbell (Cal State Northridge); Fred Chao (George Mason); Shane Davis (Loyola-Chicago); Pete Hanson (Ohio State); Mark Pavlik (Penn State); John Speraw (UC Irvine); Joel Walton (Ball State), and Joe Wortmann (Pacific).
It is the first time that UCSB has placed a pair of players on an all-America first team in the same season. A total of 18 Gauchos have been named to all-America teams since 1977.
UCSB finished the season with a 20-12 record to become the first Gaucho squad since 1989 to amass 20 wins. After advancing to the MPSF Tournament, UCSB defeated UCLA in the quarterfinals and lost against top-ranked Pepperdine in the semis.