No. 6 Gauchos Host No. 4 UCLA Wednesday Night

No. 6 Gauchos Host No. 4 UCLA Wednesday Night

Full Release in PDF Format

• The Schedule
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (11-3) vs. No. 4 UCLA (10-2)
Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Bruins: 37-127 / Lost 6
UCLA Streak / Last 10 – Won 5 / 8-2
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Won 8 / 8-2
Last Meeting: Jan. 16, 2019 - UCLA def. UCSB, 3-0

Friday, Feb. 15, 2018 at 7:00 PM
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (11-3) at UC San Diego (5-7)
RIMAC Arena - San Diego, Calif.
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Tritons – 40-8 / Won 11
UCSD Streak / Last 10 – Lost 1 / 5-5
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Won 8 / 8-2
Last Meeting: Mar. 2, 2018 - UCSB def. UCSD, 3-0

• The Week in Review
The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team extended its winning streak to eight matches after sweeping the competition at the AVCA Showcase in Long Beach over the weekend. On Friday night, the Gauchos swept past Ohio State 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-12) behind a team hitting percentage of .423 and followed up its performance with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-21) sweep of Penn State on Saturday.

• The Week Ahead
This week, Santa Barbara hosts a highly-anticipated match with No. 4 UCLA (10-2) in Rob Gym on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m. and begins Big West play on Friday as the Gauchos travel to UC San Diego. Wednesday's match is available to stream on BigWest.TV while Friday night's contest will air on ESPN3. 

• What a Streak
UCSB has now won eight straight matches, with six of those coming against AVCA Top-15 ranked opponents. The streak started after a three-game skid that the Gauchos snapped by topping No. 14 Ball State and No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne in Indiana. Since then, UCSB has won four straight at home, followed by a pair of wins in its first neutral site matches of the year against Ohio State and Penn State in Long Beach. It is the longest winning streak for the Gauchos in the Rick McLaughlin era. 

• Chavers Leading the Charge
Senior outside hitter Corey Chavers is having a phenomenal season by all acounts, already a two-time Big West Player of the Week, AVCA National Player of the Week and Off the Block's National Outside Attacker of the Week, twice. Chavers has eight consecutive double-digit kill matches, coinciding with UCSB's eight match win streak, and he leads the team by far with 198 kills (3.81 kills per set) and 26 service aces. Not a one-trick pony, Chavers is also among the team leaders in digs (51) and total blocks (28). 

• Hicks Named Big West Freshman of the Week
Freshman middle blocker Brandon Hicks racked up 10 total blocks, six kills, five aces and three digs in a pair of sweeps over Ohio State and Penn State to earn his first career Big West Freshman Player of the Week award. The Newport Beach native set a career-high with seven blocks against Penn State while adding a career-high five aces while adding three kills. He hit .353 (6-2-17) on the week and added three blocks and three kills in a sweep over Ohio State.

• Battle with the Bruins
The Gauchos will have another crack at UCLA this season after the Bruins swept UCSB in Pauley Pavilion back in January. Since that loss, Santa Barbara has now won eight in a row, while UCLA has won its past five. Both teams are 8-2 in their past 10 matches entering Wednesday.  The Bruins are led by junior opposite Brandon Rattray (113 kills, 3.77 k/s), senior setter Micah Ma'a (427 assists, 9.93 a/s, 82 digs, 1.91 d/s) and junior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah (123 kills, 2.93 k/s, 33 total blocks).

• Big West Begins at UC San Diego
UCSB will begin year two of the Big West this Friday at UC San Diego. Last season, the Gauchos played host to the Tritons in the inaugural Big West match, a battle that needed five sets before UCSB prevailed. In their next meeting, UCSB swept UCSD behind a 17 kill performance from Keenan Sanders. The Tritons are led by Wyatt Harrison (151 kills, 3.68 k/s), setter Connor Walbrecht (306 assists, 7.29 a/s) and Vlad Pesic, who leads the team with 36 blocks. 

• Battle Tested
Overall this season, Santa Barbara has played 11 AVCA Top-15 ranked opponents, going 8-3 against them. UCSB has the second toughest schedule in the nation when looking at its cumulative opposition, currently with a .669 winning percentage (184-91). Down the stretch, the Gauchos face the third toughest schedule with its remaining opponents boasting a .727 win percentage (101-38). 

• Poll Position
In the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Poll, UCSB held steady at No. 6 after its pair of wins at the AVCA Showcase in Long Beach. In fact, the top six saw no change from last week with Long Beach State holding strong at No. 1, Hawai'i at No. 2, UCI at No. 3, UCLA at No. 4 and Pepperdine at No. 5. With CSUN ranked No. 11, the Big West has five programs in the Top-11. 

• Freshman Phenoms
Three freshmen, Haotian Xia, Ryan Wilcox, and Brandon Hicks have proven themselves early on and made immediate impacts for an already deep and talented UCSB team. Both Wilcox (twice) and Brandon Hicks have won Big West Freshman of the Week honors while Xia has been nominated several times and had a career-high of 18 kills at No. 14 Ball State on Jan. 18. Hicks leads the team with 43 total blocks while Wilcox is second on the team with 103 kills.  

• Big West Preseason Coaches Poll
The Gauchos were picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference, according to the annual preseason coaches poll. With 36 points, including all six first-place votes, reigning Big West and NCAA champion Long Beach State was a unanimous choice for the No. 1 slot in the poll. Hawai'i came in second with 28 while UC Irvine was a close third at 26. UCSB came in at No. 4 with 16 votes followed by CSUN with 11 and UC San Diego with nine.