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UCSB Beats Alberta in Pre-Tournament Warmup

Brunner leads volleyball team to 3-2 victory as Gauchos prepare for weekend's Elephant Bar tourney and regular season-opener.

Theo Brunner knocked down a match-high 23 kills as the UCSB men’s volleyball team defeated Alberta, 3-2, on Wednesday in an exhibition match at Robertson Gymnasium.

UCSB won the opening game, 31-29, but dropped the next two by scores of 30-26 and 30-19. The Gauchos hit an impressive .625 in game four to take a 30-20 win. In the deciding frame, Santa Barbara came from behind to win, 18-16.

Down 11-5 in the fifth game, UCSB scored eight of the next nine points. A big block by outside hitter Jeff Menzel, a freshman from San Marcos High, tied the game at 12-12 and a kill from senior outside Phil Mathews gave the Gauchos the lead. After trading several points, Mathews put the game away with a pair of kills.

Brunner, a senior opposite hitter, had five digs and three blocks to go along with his 23 kills. Menzel finished with 15 kills and Mathews totaled 13. Sam Moisenco had five blocks and libero Andy McGuire amassed 16 digs, a match-high. Starting setter Max Klineman had 34 assists while Mike Runkle registered 21 off the bench.

For Alberta, Joel Schmuland led the way with 15 kills and a .462 attack percentage. Ben Saxton added 12 kills and Adam Kaminski had eight blocks as the Golden Bears out-blocked the Gauchos 18.5 to 9.

Neither squad hit particularly well as Alberta finished at .250 and UCSB swung at .235.

UCSB opens its regular season Jan. 4-5 as it hosts the annual Elephant Bar Restaurant Collegiate Invitational. Joining the Gauchos will be Alberta, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Pacific, Stanford, reigning national champion UC Irvine and USC.

The Gauchos take on UC Irvine at 1 p.m. Friday at Robertson Gym in first-round play. Second-round matches take place at 7 p.m. in both the Thunderdome and Robertson Gym.

On Saturday, matches are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. at Robertson Gym. Pairings will be determined following Friday’s play.

Tickets are available at both venues Friday and at Robertson Gym on Saturday. An all-tourney pass is $15 for adults and $10 for 12 and under and UCSB students. A single-day pass is available for $10 for adults and $5 for 12 and under and UCSB students.

Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.

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