The #13 UCSB men’s volleyball team (5-7 overall, 4-5 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) take a much needed break from MPSF and Division I play, as they host Division III UC Santa Cruz (11-5 overall) tonight. The Gauchos have yet to lose a game to the Banana Slugs as they are 13-0 all-time against UCSC.

“Since this is a non-league match against a Division III opponent, it will hopefully be a chance for a few of us to get some rest, and a few others to see more court time,” junior middle blocker Matt Thobe said. “The rest will be welcome preparation for our home game against UCLA on Wednesday.”

The Gauchos, who started the season 0-3, have turned it around, winning four of their last five games. It is because of this current run that the Gauchos once again broke into the AVCA rankings, earning the #13 spot, and a share of 8th place in the MPSF with Stanford.

“I think the credit has to go to the coaches for making some important personnel [changes] and to all of us as players for responding to what they have given us,” junior setter Max Klineman said. “[Senior middle blocker] Theo [Brunner’s] ability to change positions and make an immediate impact, as well as [junior outside Mike] Runkle’s steady passing and offense have provided our team with a spark.”

First serve kicks off at 7 p.m. today at Rob Gym and the Gauchos are confident that they’ll have an easy time slowing down the Banana Slugs.

“Friday is going to be a sweep,” Thobe said. “Expect to see some impressive blocking and hitting stats as well.”