The #7 UCSB men’s volleyball team looks to take its two-game winning streak up north this weekend, when it travels to face Stanford tonight and Pacific tomorrow night.
If the Gauchos (11-9 overall, 7-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation [MPSF]) can pull off both wins, it will be the first time all season that they climbed over the .500 hump in conference.
“Playing on the road is always different from home,” junior outside hitter Bryan Berman said. “We should beat these teams up regardless of whether or not we’re on the road, so we shouldn’t be too worried.”
First up Santa Barbara will face Stanford (4-16, 2-2 MPSF), who it swept at home in January.
The Cardinal, coming off a sweep at the hands of #1 BYU earlier this week, is led by senior opposite Ben Reddy and sophomore outside hitter Jesse Meredith who each notched 12 kills apiece against the Cougars. Pacific (5-13, 3-9 MPSF) is coming off its own loss against #13 Purdue University last week. The Tigers are led by senior outside hitters Brian Adamson, Matt Cornell and Pekka Seppanen.
“Since these are league matches, it’s more important to get these wins and we’re trying to get that in some of the guys’ heads,” UCSB Head Coach Ken Preston said. “We need to understand the playoff ramifications. These are matches that we should win if we play well. … Hopefully we’ve learned enough from out last match to come out and get a few wins on the road.”
Earlier in the week, Santa Barbara swept Lewis University in a nonconference match, but was in danger of dropping a set early on the match against the freshmen-stacked roster. The Gauchos came out early on and finished the first and second sets 30-25 and efficiently sent the Flyers home in the third set 30-17.
“I think we’re definitely capable of sweeping [Stanford and UOP],” Berman said. “The thing we need to do is keep our intensity up. If we let down we’ll struggle. … If we keep playing hard at every point, we won’t have the same problem that we had against Lewis.”
The first serve tonight is scheduled for 7 in Palo Alto, Calf. followed by a game against Pacific at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Stockton, Calif.