The Gauchos are being tested once again. This time, the UCSB men’s volleyball team is travelling south to UC San Diego and Long Beach State in hopes of picking up two more wins on the road.
Santa Barbara has defeated only one team in an opponent’s gym this season, but is currently riding a three-match win streak.
Earlier in the season, the #7 Gauchos swept both UCSD and Long Beach in three games. UCSB upset then-ranked #1 Long Beach in Rob Gym.
The Tritons are continuing a five-match homestand by hosting Santa Barbara tonight in the RIMAC Arena. San Diego (7-18, 3-16 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) is coming off of consecutive losses to top-ranked Brigham Young University.
Now ranked #2 behind BYU, Long Beach (22-5 overall, 15-4 in the MPSF) has dropped just two matches in The Pyramid. The 49ers are led by seniors Scott Touzinsky and Jeff Wootton, who have collected 1,511 and 1,000 career kills, respectively.
Senior middle blocker David Lee is first in the MPSF and third in the nation in blocks per game, averaging 1.52. The 49ers have hit a collective .353 attack percentage this season while limiting their opponents to just .251.
UCSB needs to play its best volleyball to defeat the 49ers on the road. Sophomore opposite Evan Patak and freshman outside hitter Jake Wiens have continually led the Gauchos in kills while junior middle blocker Michael Kennedy sets up a solid block in the front row. After having experimented with different setters, the Gauchos have gone back to sophomore Dane Jensen who leads the team in assists.