Gauchos Face UCLA on Pac-12 Network, Host UC Irvine in Pivotal Week

Photo by Tony Mastres
Photo by Tony Mastres

Full Relase in PDF Format

• The Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
on the Pac-12 Network
No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (3-0, 2-0) vs. No. 3 UCLA (5-1, 2-0)
at UCLA's Pauley Pavillion
Series record vs UCLA – 33-120
Streak vs the Bruins – Won 1
UCSB Streak Overall – Won 3
UCLA Streak Overall – Won 5
Last time out vs. the Bruins – W, 3-1 @ UCLA (2/27/13)

Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (3-0, 2-0) vs. No. 8 UC Irvine (4-4, 1-3)
at Rob Gym
Series record vs. UCI – 45-25
Streak vs. the Anteaters – Lost 7
UCSB Streak Overall – Won 3
UCI Streak Overall – Won 1
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – L, 3-2 (4/20/13, MPSF Quarters)

• Gauchos on the Small Screen
Tuesday night's match at UCLA will be televised by the Pac-12 Network. The channel can be viewed locally on Cox channel 286/1286 (standard definition/HD).

• The Week In Review
UCSB continued their hot start with home wins over Pacific and top-ranked Stanford last week. Austin Kingi led the offense with 26 kills over the weekend, and the junior outside also had four aces against the Tigers. The Gauchos came out strong against the Cardinal, holding them to just 13 points in the opening set. Stanford came back to take sets two and three, but Kingi's six-kill fourth game put UCSB in position to take the match. Tied at 12-12 in the fifth, a Stanford service error was followed by consecutive double-blocks from Ryan Thompson and Jonah Seif that clinched the win.  

• Knocking Stanford Off Their Perch
UCSB's win over Stanford last week was the program's first win over a top-ranked team since May 5, 2011, when the Gauchos beat then-No. 1 USC for the right to play in the NCAA Championship Match. The early season parity in the MPSF has led to four different No. 1 teams in the first four polls of 2014.

• Unblemished Record
With their 2-0 weekend, the Gauchos improved their overall record to 3-0 and are now just one of two teams in the NCAA with an undefeated record, top-ranked Pepperdine being the other. UCSB's second set loss to Stanford last weekend was the first game the Gauchos have dropped in the team's five matches, exhibitions included.

• Hitting the Road
Tuesday night's faceoff with UCLA will be the Gauchos' first road game of the 2014 season. The Gauchos struggled a bit on the road in 2013, ending with a 4-10 record. However, UCSB put together a win over the Bruins at Pauley Pavillion as part of a 4-1 road stretch between Feb. 21 and Mar. 30.

• Seif to Say, He's One of the Best
Sophomore setter Jonah Seif has taken great strides so far in 2014 to round out his game. Already in the top-10 in assists conference wide, the 6-8, Thousand Oaks, Calif. native currently ranks second overall in the MPSF in aces (0.73 per game) and 12th in total blocks (1.09 per game). He leads all setters in the conference in both categories.

• Thompson Comes Up Big
Senior middle blocker Ryan Thompson has done more than his fair share in easing the Gauchos into the post-Dylan Davis era. His 6-9 frame has helped him to a conference-leading 1.64 blocks per game average, while he also ranks fourth in the league with a .562 hitting percentage. His work in the middle has the Gauchos sporting a conference-low .136 opponents' hitting percentage. He put up career marks in both kills (11) and hitting percentage (.667) in the team's upset of Stanford last week.

• Good Service
One of the biggest improvements in the 2014 squad so far has been the serving. UCSB leads the MPSF with an average of 2.0 aces per set, and have two of the top three acers (Seif and Austin Kingi) in the conference.

• Hanley Returns to His Old Stomping Grounds
Senior outside hitter Matt Hanley will be returning to UCLA – where he spent his freshman and sophomore seasons – for the first time as a member of the Gauchos. In two years with the Bruins, Hanley entered 33 matches and started six times. Arguably his best performance was an 11-kill effort against LBSU on Jan. 8, 2011. Hanley has thrived at UCSB so far, ranking second on the team in kills per game (2.44) and digs per game (2.0).

• Out For Vengeance
Saturday's match against UCI will be a rematch of last year's MPSF Quarterfinals. UCSB took the eventual national champs to five games before falling. Evan Licht (19 kills, two aces) and Grant Goswiller (15 kills, two aces) led the Gauchos offense in that match.