With the momentum of a recent 3-2 win over University of Southern California on their side, in addition to the added bonus of home-court advantage, the UCSB men’s volleyball team will face University of the Pacific and Stanford University both tonight and Saturday at 7:05 in Rob Gym.
“We’re a lot more ready than we would have been had we dropped that match at USC,” Head Coach Kenny Preston said. “That was a huge confidence boost for our group.”
In its first road trip of the season, Santa Barbara (12-11 overall, 7-9 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) lost to Pacific 3-1 in Stockton and then dropped another match 3-2 at Stanford.
“I’d expect our players to defend their house and play with a little more urgency and intent,” Preston said.
Pacific is coming off a 3-0 sweep over UC San Diego and is led by senior Sean Rogers, who recorded 13 kills against the Tritons. Previous to the San Diego win, the Tigers (7-16, 3-12 MPSF) had not won a conference match in nearly two months.
Just two MPSF wins behind UCSB, #8 Stanford (8-13, 5-11 MPSF) has a balanced attack with at least five players who have 100 kills on the season, but is just 2-8 on the road. Junior outside hitter David Vogel leads the Cardinal attack with 222 total kills.
After dropping five of its seven matches in March, the Gauchos have gone back to the drawing board and are experimenting with different lineups.
“We’ve been playing a lot of players,” Preston said. “I would hope that they’re ready because we’ve been doing things that should make us ready.”
Sophomore opposite Evan Patak leads the MPSF in points per game with 5.98 and is second in kills per game with 5.06. Sophomore setter Dane Jensen has handed out 710 assists on the season to average 12.57 per game, the fifth-best average in the MPSF.
Santa Barbara has recorded 11 of its 12 wins at home with last weekend’s match at USC being its first road win.