Fresh off a win at UCLA, the Gauchos host the Bruins tonight in Rob Gym at 7 p.m. UCSB (6-5 overall, 4-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) beat UCLA (7-6, 2-5 MPSF) earlier in the week and enter tonight’s rematch looking for a regular season sweep of their conference rival.
[media-credit id=20281 align=”alignleft” width=”246″][/media-credit] “This is our biggest match of the season,” senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter said. “We love playing UCLA. Friday night at home in Rob Gym? Playing the way we have been lately, that will be tough for them. We are all good friends, but friendships get thrown out the door when we hit the court.”
UCSB beat the Bruins 3-1 in Los Angeles to earn their first win at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion since 2002. Senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel led the match with 17 kills, and seniors Cullen Irons and Trey Valbuena each added 10 kills for a Gaucho victory.
“That was a big win. Anytime you can beat a 19-time national champion in their house, you get excited,” Head Coach Rick McLaughlin said. “But we need to put it behind us and beat UCLA in our own gym. “
The Gauchos have now won back-to-back matches with victories over Hawaii and UCLA. The tandem of Menzel and Irons has led the Gaucho attack all season, but the last two wins have been team efforts with strong contributions from Slaughter, Valbuena and senior setter Vince Devany.
“We will make a few adjustments and I expect UCLA to play us very well,” McLaughlin said. “Usually, in a rematch so soon, the team that just lost has a bit of an edge. It will be a great match.”
UCSB has won all four matches against the Bruins this year, including preseason play. UCLA enters tonight’s contest with four consecutive losses.
“They will probably run the same offensive and we will see the same guys,” Slaughter said. “Hopefully we get a turnout. A crowd of good hecklers helps a lot.”
First serve of tonight’s match is set for 7 p.m. in Rob Gym.