The UCSB men’s volleyball team bids farewell to four seniors at The Rob against #8 Long Beach State tonight and UC San Diego on Saturday.
Outside hitters Anders Bengtsson, Keith Busam, Jan Carlo Zegarra and middle blocker Dan Terry finish off their careers this weekend. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
“Three of them have been here five years, so you learn their ins and outs,” UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston said. “They have put in a lot of hard work for us. The work ethic they have given and the way they come to the gym has been important for us.”
All four players have played important roles for the Gauchos (9-19, 4-16 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) this year.
“Dan Terry has worked as hard as anybody,” Preston said. “Keith Busam has been getting playing time based upon his work, and he is playing his best volleyball right now, and Jan Carlo has had a good career here.”
The team could also lose junior middle blocker Justin Adams to graduation. Adams is a junior in eligibility for volleyball but a senior academically. He is applying to the graduate business school at Santa Barbara and, if accepted, will play next year for the Gauchos.
“Justin is a great player for us. He’s a gifted kid who is a wonderful individual and a very nice guy, and he was one of our leaders,” Preston said. “I hope he comes back. He would be a captain-type guy that could take some of the younger guys under his wing. It looks good: He has good SAT scores and he should be admissible to the program.”
Adams is also hoping he can return to the team next year.
“More than anything, I want to come back and play next year,” Adams said, “But I’m not going to take BS classes. The application is due in May, so we’ll see then.”
But before the team can concentrate on next year, Santa Barbara must play its final home stand against LBSU and UCSD.
Long Beach State (16-12, 10-11) had lost four straight games before defeating Northridge 3-2 on Wednesday. Niner junior middle blocker David Lee leads the MPSF in hitting percentage, at .475. Lee has 217 kills on the year. Junior outside hitter Scott Touzinsky leads the 49ers in kills with 365. Freshman setter Tyler Hildebrand leads the MPSF in assists per game with 14.79.
Santa Barbara swept UCSD (6-20, 1-19) in San Diego on Feb. 22, in the midst of the team’s season- long, eleven-game losing streak. The Tritons have struggled mightily but have received a consistent effort from junior opposite Jim Waller, who is fifth in the MPSF in both kills and points.
“I just want to see them play hard,” Preston said. “It’s disappointing we’re not going to the playoffs, but I just want to see a good team effort.”