After only one senior graduated from a team that finished tied for 10th in the MPSF, the UCSB men’s volleyball team brings in four standout recruits in hopes of getting back to postseason play.
One season removed from a national runner-up finish, UCSB was left with an inexperienced and youthful roster this year after six starters graduated after the 2010 season. With four new freshmen set to step on campus next season, the Gauchos hope for an immediate contribution to help the team return to its days of glory.
“I think they’ll have an opportunity, because we didn’t have a great year last year and these guys might upgrade us,” Head Coach Rick McLaughlin said. “We have some guys returning that are real good and should earn their starting spots, but you just never know.”
Jonah Seif, a 6’8” setter from Thousand Oaks High School headlines the recruiting class for UCSB. Seif features extraordinary height for a setter, an asset likely to aid UCSB for years to come.
“When setters get that big, you worry about their footwork and how fast they are, and Jonah has great footwork, he’s quick,” McLaughlin said. “We’re real excited about him. He’s going to be competing for a starting spot right away.”
Another highly touted recruit, Jacob Delson, is expected to contribute immediately next season. Delson, a 6’5’’ outside hitter from Westlake High School in Westlake Village, Calif., led his team to this season’s CIF playoffs.
“I think he’ll compete right away for a spot,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a good all-around player, very competitive, and he’s going to go after a starting spot right away and compete with the other guys returning.”
Adding some versatility for UCSB will be Parker Boehle, a 5’8’’ libero from Loyola High School in Los Angeles. Boehle helped his team to a championship appearance in the playoffs.
“[His height] is a little bit of a disadvantage, but Parker has learned how to deal with that,” McLaughlin said. “He’s got good skills and he knows the game well. [Sophomore libero Chad Kingi] is going to come back and probably start for sure; I think Parker is probably a year or two away.”
Rounding out the class for UCSB is 6’4” setter Andrew Kocur out of Saint Michael’s College School in Toronto, Canada. Kocur previously played for Canada’s junior national team.
“Andrew is a very experienced setter for his age,” McLaughlin said. “He is really going to have a shot at starting for us at setter.”
All four recruits were featured on the FAB 50, a list of the top 50 high school players.
“I think they have as good a shot as the guys returning,” McLaughlin said. “It’s going to be a wide open battle for who’s going to be out there.”