Oct. 30, 2009
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The eight-team Santa Barbara Invitational Men's Volleyball tournament, hosted by UC Santa Barbara, will be held Thursday and Friday, Jan. 7-8, 2010. Thursday's matches will be played at Robertson (Rob) Gymnasium and the Thunderdome, while Friday's matches will take place exclusively in Rob Gym.
The tournament has traditionally been held on Friday and Saturday but was shifted to Thursday-Friday in 2010 to accommodate men's basketball, which had its Thursday-Saturday games moved by the Big West Conference to Friday-Sunday.
The Gauchos will open the tournament against Cal State Northridge at 11 a.m. in Rob Gym on Thursday. CSUN ended the Gauchos 2009 season on a sour-note, dropping UCSB in straight sets, 30-23, 30-21, 30-28. UCSB finished last season 8-19, 4-18 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play.
Since then, head coach Rick McLaughlin has been on the grind, first leading USA Volleyball to a gold medal in the Pan American Cup in Mexico and then securing commitments from five of Volleyball Magazine's 2009 Fab 50- middle blocker Dylan Davis, setter Oliver Deutschman, outside hitter Paul Goodman, middle blocker Evan Licht and libero Evan Mottram.
"It has been a lot more competitive getting ready for the season this year," McLaughlin said, "During practice our guys are getting to play legitimate six-on-six scrimmages and everyone in every position is capable of playing at the elite level we are looking for."
The winner of the UCSB-CSUN match will play the winner of Cal Baptist-LBSU, with the loser of each match also facing each other in the second round.
Reigning national champion UC Irvine is slated against BYU in the first round, while UCLA will play UCSD.
McLaughlin expects a competitive tournament, as he expects six of the teams involved will eventually be nationally ranked in the top ten.
"If we are healthy going into our home tournament, then I think we have a good shot at going deep, " McLaughlin said, "We took third place last year and of course, we want to do better."
The 7th place, 5th place, 3rd place, and Championship matches will all be played on Friday in Rob Gym.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click <"http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/tickets/ucsbtickets.html"> here.
The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the ticket office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.