Gauchos Continue Road Swing

Jan. 19, 2011

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• The Schedule
Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7 p.m.
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (1-2, 3-3) at No. 11 Cal State Northridge (1-1, 2-3)
Series record vs. the Matadors - 43-36
Streak - Won 1
2010 Series - CSUN 3-0
2011 Series - UCSB 1-0
Last time out vs. the Matadors - W, 3-0

Saturday, January 26, 2011 at 7 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (0-0, 2-1) vs. No. 1 USC (2-0, 2-0)
at Rob Gym
Series record vs. the Trojans- 54-48
Streak- Lost 4
2010 Series- USC 2-0
Last time out vs. the Trojans- L, 3-1

• Can't Make it to the Court?
UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online for no charge with Gametracker. Log on to UCSBgauchos.com, go to the men's volleyball schedule, and click on the Gametracker link for the match you're interested in. You can follow each point and see player statistics and bios.

• The Week in Review
The Gauchos started off the MPSF season with a four game road swing, featuring visits to UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Long Beach State. UCSB claimed the match against UC San Diego in straight sets behind senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter's 9 kills and 6 blocks. The Gauchos proceeded to drop their next two matches in identical fashion, falling in straight sets both times. The Gauchos conclude their road trip with a stop at Cal State Northridge before hosting USC in their home opener.

• Championship Pedigree
The Gauchos have already shown improvement over their 2010 season. as UCSB placed second in the Gaucho Collegiate Invitational. The host Gauchos finished in last place in 2010, but advanced to the Championship match against Brigham Young University this year., representing the biggest leap of any team in the tournament. Senior libero Andy McGuire and senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter were named to the All-Tournament Team, and senior outside hitter Cullen Irons had an outstanding Day One, compiling 30 kills in the Gauchos' first two matches.

• Exorcising Demons
The Gauchos have dropped their last four matches against the USC Trojans, dating back to the 2008 season. The last time UCSB beat USC, then-freshman Jeff Menzel led the Gauchos to a straight set victory with a match-high 21 kills on Mar. 12, 2008. UCSB has put up a fight in each match of the 4-game skid, taking atleast one set in all four tilts.

•Older and Wiser
The Gauchos will be fielding an experienced lineup in the 2011 season, as 6 of the 7 starters from the season opener were seniors (Sophomore middle block Dylan Davis being the only exception). Those same six give UCSB one of the oldest and most battle-tested starting lineups in the nation.

• Starting Off Strong
Though the Gauchos have hit a bit of a snag lately, one trend that has continued through the struggles has been their strong defense in the first set. Through the first six matches of the season, UCSB opponents possess a .152 hitting percentage. These include negative percentages against UCLA (-.052) and CSUN (-.100).

•Brotherly Love
One of the Gauchos top 2011 recruits is freshman ourside hitter Weston Nielsen, younger brother of the Gaucho's only junior classmen-outside hitter Blaine Nielsen. The two figure to share time on the floor together.. The elder Nielsen was one the Gauchos strongest subs last year., racking up 107 kills and 11 service aces despite limited playing time.

• Home Improvement
If the Gauchos want to climb the MPSF standings this year, they are going to have to improve on their measly 5-10 record at Rob Gym in 2010. The home confines were anything but friendly to the Gauchos, as they were able to compile a 8-6 record away from Santa Barbara. So far, UCSB has claimed two of their three home matches.

• Lamb for the Slaughter
Senior middle blocker Scott Slaughter was the Gauchos most accurate attacker in 2010, recording a .455 hitting percentage for the year. So far this year, Scott has been the most consistently accurate attacker for the Gauchos. hitting atleast .462 in five of six matches. For the year, Slaughter is swinging at a .534 clip.

• Tickets For All Matches This Season Are Available
Tickets for all matches this season are available by calling 805.893.UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or buy online and print at home. The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.