The UCSB women’s volleyball team heads back on the road this weekend, traveling south for matches at Loyola Marymount today and UC Irvine on Saturday. The Gauchos (10-6 overall, 3-1in the Big West) are looking to increase their two-match win streak that began last weekend against Pacific.
“We’re feeling pretty confident, but we know each match is entirely different,” sophomore middle blocker Katey Thompson said. “We can’t look past anyone just because of our success last weekend.”
Since Loyola Marymount (9-8) is not a Big West opponent, UCSB will be able to utilize the non-conference game in order to prepare for a competitive league schedule.
“They just beat St. Mary’s [3-0 on Saturday],” Gregory said. “They’re a good defensive team and have good serving.”
Just like in their early season schedule, UCSB is looking at LMU as a way to see how they fare against less familiar competition.
“We beat St. Mary’s and we beat Santa Clara [from the West Coast Conference],” senior libero Chelsey Lowe said. “So hopefully we have another win against the WCC.”
Playing two nights in a row, the Gauchos may have a slightly different lineup on Friday against UC Irvine (5-9 overall, 0-3 Big West).
Freshman setter Hanna Nielson has a sore knee and may sit out against LMU. Sophomore outside hitter Leah Sully won’t play in the front row as she did last week against Pacific until Saturday.
Irvine is currently in last place in the Big West but the Gauchos know that conference standings can change in a hurry.
“Our conference has been known to have a lot of upsets so we’re not going to overlook them,” Lowe said.
Irvine has lost their last five matches, but will be excited to try to pull the upset at home.
“They’re a young team that’s physical,” Gregory said. “They haven’t played up to their ability yet, so they’re due.”
Match time is set for 7 p.m. tonight in Los Angeles and 7 p.m. on Saturday in Irvine.