Feb. 7, 2006
This Week's Matchups:
Wednesday, February 8, 7:00 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara at No. 7 UCLA
Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 3 UC Irvine
Santa Barbara, Calif.
The Gauchos enter the weekend with a 6-6 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UCSB is in the midst of a two-game winning streak after sweeping unranked UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz. Before the win streak, the Gauchos suffered a loss to Long Beach State on Wednesday. The Gauchos' 4-4 record in the MPSF places them in a tie for sixth with Northridge and Hawai'i who also sport .500 records.
Scouting the Opponents
No. 7 UCLA enters the match with the Gauchos at 6-5 overall, 1-3 in the MPSF. Like Santa Barbara, the Bruins are coming off a sweep over UC Santa Cruz. USC handed UCLA an upset-loss two days before the match against Santa Cruz, and on Jan. 28 the Bruins beat MPSF power Brigham Young in Los Angeles. UCSB and UCLA have met once already this year at the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational in which the Bruins swept the Gauchos on their home court on Jan. 6. UCLA is led by Ian Jackson who is averaging 4.00 kills per game. Paul George is currently averaging 3.44 kills a game and is third on the team with 25 blocks.
No. 3 UC Irvine is currently 8-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play. The Anteaters jumped to No. 3 in the polls this week after wins over UC Santa Cruz and Princeton and splitting with Hawai'i. UC Irvine and UCSB have already met in the 2006 season with Santa Barbara claiming a 3-2 decision at the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational on Jan. 6. UCI is led by Matt Webber and Jayson Jablonsky who are currently averaging 4.69 and 4.09 kills per game, respectively. Irvine will play Cal State Northridge on Wednesday before heading to Santa Barbara on Saturday.
Filling in Nicely
Without the services of Evan Patak and his 5.68 kills per game last week, head coach Ken Preston found a few players who can shine in the spotlight. Junior outside hitter Aaron Richman embraced the opportunity the most, going for 16 kills in UCSB's 3-0 win over UC San DIego and 12 against UC Santa Cruz. In the Gauchos' 3-0 loss to Long Beach State, Bryan Berman stepped in for Patak and recorded 13 kills to lead the Gauchos. Against Santa Cruz, Theo Brunner notched 12 to match Richman. Richman is currently second on the team with an average of 3.00 kills per game. Santa Barbara will hope to welcome back Patak to the lineup sometime this week after he sat out the last three games with a shoulder injury.