By the end of this week, the #13 UCSB women’s volleyball team will have played three matches in three states over a span of five days.

Santa Barbara (9-2 overall, 4-1 in the Big West) will play Utah State tonight at 6 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah, and will travel to Moscow, Idaho, to compete in Idaho’s Memorial Gym Saturday night at 7.

The Gauchos are coming off of a 4-1 loss to nonconference opponent Loyola Marymount University, but will soon return to Big West play while on the road.

“Now we have to go on the road and try to win league games,” UCSB Head Coach Kathy Gregory said. “The most important thing is the league.”

Last year Idaho (8-5, 2-3 in the Big West) gave Santa Barbara a blow to its ego when the Vandals defeated UCSB 3-1 at Memorial Gym for the first time in the history of competition between the two schools. The Gauchos have also only lost to Utah State (3-9, 0-5 in the Big West) once in their series at Utah.

Although UCSB will step into both gyms as the series leader, it should not dismiss either team’s abilities. The Vandals have hit a collective .243 on the season and are led by middle blockers junior Kati Tipper and senior Sarah Meek. At the net, Meek poses a serious threat to the Gaucho offense, having already recorded 13 solo blocks this season.

Utah State’s 3-9 overall record is the Aggies’ worst start since the 1999 season. Junior opposite Zuzana Cernianska, who has184 kills thus far, became the fourth Aggie to record 1,000 kills in her brief career.

Santa Barbara has been hitting .246 this season, limiting its opponents to a .126 clip. To stay on top of its game, UCSB needs to play in system offensively. If the Gauchos can pass effectively, their offense will be a major threat.

“We’re better offensively when we’re in system,” Gregory said.

UCSB needs to leave its Tuesday loss in Santa Barbara and focus on the matches ahead.

“We just have to bounce back and play hard from the get-go,” sophomore outside hitter Janine Sandell said.