By Lauren Creamer
Staff Writer

To open its 2004 season, the UCSB men’s volleyball team will host Quincy tonight at 7:05 at Rob Gym.

The match will be the third contest of the academic year for the Gauchos, who split two matches with Pepperdine on Oct. 18.

“This is not a league game, so we expect to win,” junior outside hitter Adam Ulfers said.

UCSB is without junior middle blocker Michael Kennedy, who is out with an injured finger. The blocking power and hitting accuracy of senior Justin Adams and junior Alejandro Parra will fill the middle blocker position.

Freshman opposite hitter Evan Patak is a powerhouse on the right side in both the front and back rows. True freshman outside hitter Jake Wiens is a welcome addition to the left side as both a passer and hitter.

Veteran juniors Nate Wack, Mike Nelson and Ulfers are key players at the net, while libero Aaron Mansfield is an essential component in service, receive and defense.

“The team this year meshes well and we get along very well, so I think we’ll be fun to watch and hard to beat,” Ulfers said.

Santa Barbara met the Hawks in a pre-conference match last year when UCSB defeated the Division II team, 3-1. Last season the Hawks, traveling from Illinois, were 1-9 on the road and will face a tough Santa Barbara crowd again this season.

The Hawks are coming off of a five-game exhibition win over the Techniques, a team composed of former collegiate players that originates out of St. Louis, Mo. Quincy is on a short California trip to play UCSB, Northridge and San Diego.

Junior outside hitter Nathan Boyd led the Hawks in their first victory of the season with 18 points. Sophomore middle blocker Branden Been, freshman middle blocker John Markendorf and junior outside hitter Jon Moreno are expected to be major contributors on the court.

The Gauchos are coming off of a 9-18 overall record in the 2003 season.

“This year there’s a lot of good, young talent so I think this will be a great season,” Ulfers said. “This is a good game to start it off.”