The Gaucho seniors will say goodbye to Rob Gym tonight at 7, and the UCSB men’s volleyball team hopes to send them off victoriously.
Senior Night for Santa Barbara will be one of the last times for fans to witness the fourth and fifth-year players. The No. 6 Gauchos will tangle with No. 12 Long Beach State in an important match with playoff implications for both squads.
The match will be the last home appearance for senior outside hitters Andy Rivera and Dave Kohl, opposites Ben Koski and Alex Lienert, and setter Britt Galang.
Rivera is hitting .381 on the year with a 3.79 kills per game mark and has consistently been UCSB’s go-to player in the clutch. Kohl has averaged .81 kills per game in 32 appearances.
Koski is totaling 3.84 kills per game which is good enough for tops on the team. Lienert has come off the bench to spark the Gauchos offensive threat. In just 43 games, Lienert has produced 2.02 kills per game. Galang has been the team’s quarterback all year long, leading the team in assists with 13.76 per game.
UCSB (16-9, 10-9 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) is coming off an emotional loss to No. 1 Pepperdine last Saturday but played one of its best games of the year. Santa Barbara took the Waves to a fifth game and nearly squeezed out the victory, jumping to a nine-goal lead in the fourth game before ultimately crumbling.
The Gauchos hope the intensity will carry over to tonight’s match as UCSB tries to complete the season sweep over the 49ers in 2002.
With just two playoff positions up for grabs and only two games remaining for the 49ers, Long Beach State (12-17, 8-13 MPSF) is primed to upset its rival. A win is crucial for LBSU considering Tuesday’s loss to No. 15 UC Irvine by a score of 30-26, 30-28, 30-24 at Crawford Hall hurt the Niners’ postseason aspirations.
Santa Barbara defeated LBSU 3-1 on March 7 at the Pyramid.
In last month’s meeting, senior opposite Ben Koski contributed with a monster game. Koski tallied 21 kills while hitting .390 from the court. Junior outside hitter Jan Carlo Zegarra consistently pounded away at the 49er defense to post 16 kills and hit .448 in the winning effort.