Gauchos Start Regular Season by Hosting 50th Annual Asics Invitational

Austin Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Austin Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team will open up regular season play this weekend when they host the 50th annual UCSB Asics Invitational on Friday, Jan. 3 and Saturday, Jan. 4.

This year's tourney, which features 10 teams split into two five-team pools, will have a revised scheduling format.

On Friday, each team will play round-robin against the other four teams in their pool. These matches will be best of three sets exhibitions and will not count towards overall records. After the conclusion of all matches on Friday, records will be compiled and seeds will be assigned within each pool.

On Saturday, each team will play its corresponding seed in the opposite pool (i.e. the top seed in Pool A will play the top team in Pool B). These matches will count towards teams' overall records.

The four teams joining the Gauchos in Pool A include Stanford, Cal Baptist, Pacific, and Harvard. Pool B will be comprised of Long Beach State, UCLA, Cal State Northridge, UC San Diego, and IPFW.

The first wave of matches on Friday will take place at 10 a.m., with the second wave commencing at 3 p.m. after a lunch break. Saturday's matches will occur every two-and-a-half hours starting at 10 a.m., with the championship match slated for 8 p.m.

UCSB will look to get off on the right foot in 2014 and continue its form that saw the team reach the MPSF tournament last year after missing out in 2012. The Gauchos return starters at each position, including sophomore All-MPSF setter Jonah Seif, middle blockers Jake Staahl and Ryan Thompson, libero Chad Kingi, and a deep stable of outsides with the likes of returners Austin Kingi, Evan Licht, Kevin Donohue, and Matt Marsh to go along with transfers Matt Hanley (UCLA) and Vaun Lennon (UCSD).

The Gauchos were ranked No. 8 in the nation in the AVCA Preseason Poll, while being picked by conference coaches to finish seventh in the ultra-competitive MPSF.

All of the matches on Friday will take place at the Thunderdome, with Saturday's matches being played at Rob Gym. Fan resources, including campus/parking maps and driving directions, can be found here.

All-tournament passes are priced at $30 for adults, and $20 for seniors, youth, and military. One-day passes are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors, youth, and military. Tickets can be purchased on site at each venue.

To view the full tournament bracket & schedule please click here.