The UCSB men’s volleyball team is gearing up for its battle against California Baptist tonight at 7:05 in Rob Gym.
“[Baptist] has always been a solid team,” sophomore setter Jeff Minc said. “They have a number of good players that are quick and athletic. What we have to do is keep playing all the guys on our team like we’ve done the past few games. Our team doesn’t have a go-to guy, and I think that’s the big strength of our team. We play all of our guys so the other team doesn’t know what to expect from us.”
The #2-ranked Santa Barbara (3-0 overall, 1-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) is riding a three-game winning streak. The Gauchos hope to continue their positive winning trend tonight against the Lancers. Cal Baptist defeated UCSB last season in five games.
“It was a tough loss last year,” Minc said. “We lost in five games, and this is a game we don’t want to lose because they aren’t part of the NCAA.”
Cal Baptist (3-4) is the team to beat in its league, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Gauchos know that playing the Lancers will not be a walk in the park.
“This will be a tough game,” junior middle blocker Anders Bengtsson said. “They’re the best team we’ve played since UCLA so it will be a good test for us. I know that if we play with concentration, we can beat them in three [games], but it’s going to be tough.”
Santa Barbara is coming off of recent wins against the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of California, San Diego, and UCLA. However, the Gauchos know that their recent successes will not guarantee a win.
“It’s incredible that we’ve done so well this season,” Minc said about the Gauchos’ recent success in the young season. “It makes you want to maintain that status. It’s a new inspiration for the team because we’re not used to being this highly ranked.”