In its first road trip of the season, the UCSB men’s volleyball team will take on Pacific in Stockton tonight at 7 p.m.
After defeating Northridge 3-2 at home last Friday, the Gauchos have replaced the Matadors as the number five spot the USA Today/AVCA Poll and will tackle #13 Pacific.
“Now we have to go on the road,” UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston said.
While Santa Barbara has yet to compete on a court other than Rob Gym this year, Pacific has spent most of the early season on the road. However, the Tigers have lost both contests played at their own Alex G. Spanos Center.
“A good UOP team isn’t doing so well,” Preston said.
Despite being 1-3 in MPSF play and 2-6 overall, Pacific is coming off a 3-0 win at UC San Diego. The #15 Tritons were unranked last week but have replaced the Tigers, who moved up two spots in the poll.
Junior opposite Nils Dauburs leads the Tigers in offense with 107 kills, and junior outside hitter Mauricio Brizuela follows with 92 kills. Pacific is averaging a .271 attack percentage against opponents who are hitting .296 on the other side of the net when facing the Tigers.
In the back row, junior libero Mike Gawlik leads the Tigers with 58 digs. Pacific is more spread out at the net, with senior middle blocker Sean Rogers, junior middle blocker Brad Alexander and Dauburs recording 18 blocks apiece.
Four Gauchos played pivotal career-type games against Northridge and are expected to excel on the road. Sophomore opposite Evan Patak posted a career-high 32 kills and sophomore setter Dane Jensen set a career-high 73 assists. On defense, freshman outside hitter Jake Wiens recorded his first two collegiate stuff blocks while junior libero Aaron Mansfield had a match-high 26 digs.
Santa Barbara will travel to Palo Alto on Friday to play #8 Stanford at 7 p.m. in the Maples Pavilion. The Cardinals fell to the University of San Diego 3-1 last Saturday and are now 4-4 overall and 2-2 in MPSF play. Stanford is looking to snap a two-game losing streak. The Gauchos already defeated Stanford once this season when the two teams met in the consolation bracket of the UCSB/Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational.