No. 14 Gauchos Finish Up Tough Homestand

Grant Goswiller (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Grant Goswiller (Photo by Tony Mastres)

• The Schedule
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 7 p.m. PST
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (5-13, 3-11)
vs No. 7 Pepperdine (10-9, 6-8)
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Series record vs. the Waves- 23-10
Streak- Won 1
2011 Series- Tied 1-1
2012 Series- UCSB 1-0
Last time out vs. the Waves- W, 3-1

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7 p.m. PST
No. 12 UC Santa Barbara (5-13, 3-11)
vs No. 3 University of Southern California (13-4, 10-4)
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Series record vs. the Trojans- 56-50
Streak- Lost 1
2011 Series- Tied 2-2
2012 Series- USC 1-0
Last time out vs. the Trojans- W, 3-1

• Can't Make it to the Court?
UCSB men's volleyball matches can be followed live online for no charge with Presto Sport's
"Primetime" app. For home matches, log on to, go to the men's volleyball
schedule, and click on the"live stats' 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 had a pair of matches to forget last week, falling at home to both UC Irvine and
UC San Diego. In Wednesday night's straight-sets defeat, 13 different Gauchos saw playing
time as Rick McLaughlin tried anything and everything to slow down the UC Irvine attack.
The Anteaters finished with a behemoth .493 hitting percentage, and were led by Kevin Tillie's
11 kills. For UCSB, freshman opposite Matt Marsh had a decent match, pacing his team with
seven kills. Friday night's match didn't go much better, though the Gauchos were able to win a
game from the visiting Tritons. Evan Licht had a strong match, finishing with 10 kills and seven
blocks. Kevin Donohue led the Gaucho attack with 15 kills. UCSD's Fred Stahl had a standout
performance with his 13 kills and six blocks.

• Scouting the Waves
Despite last year's regular season ending loss to the Waves, UCSB has had their number in
the recent past. The Gauchos are 13-1 in the last 14 meetings between the two teams. Pepperdine
is led by their opposite- Maurice Torres. Torres ranks fifth in the entire conference in
kills (3.87 per game), service aces (0.4 per game), and points (4.66 per game). Matt Pollock is
their anchor in the middle, averaging 1.16 blocks per game while also chipping in quick strike
on a .444 hitting percentage. Pollock ranks sixth in the conference in blocking and eight in
hitting percentage.

• Scouting the Trojans
USC, despite sitting fifth in the MPSF standings, is a force to be reckoned
with, as shown by their No. 3 ranking. The Trojans have won
eight straight matches coming into the week. Head Coach Bill Ferguson
entered the week with 98 wins for USC, and with a win over
UCLA on Wednesday could challenge the Gauchos for win number
100 on Friday night. Two-time All-American Tony Ciarelli is their go-to
guy, leading the team in both kills (228) and aces (20).

• Fresh Faced Gauchos
In contrast to last year's senior-heavy and rarely changing lineup, this
year's lineup features just one senior and one starting returner. Head
Coach Rick McLaughlin rarely strayed from his starting seven last year.
That couldn't be more different this year, as15 of the 18 players on
the UCSB roster have started a match this season for the Gauchos.
A season-high 13 Gauchos entered the match on Mar. 7 against UC
Irvine. This year's sole returning starter, Dylan Davis, has done much to
cement his role. Dylan leads the team in total blocks (75) and is third
on the team in kills (124). The sole senior, Blaine Nielsen, serves as the
team captain and is fifth on the team in kills (55).

• Miller Picking Out the Middles
Since Bryce Miller took over at setter five matches ago, output from
UCSB's middle blockers has drastically increased. The three main
middle blockers are contributing 4.92 kills per game in the last five
matches compared to 3.68 in the first 13 matches of the season.

• Brotherly Love
This year's team features two sets of brothers: Chad & Austin Kingi
and Blaine & Weston Nielsen. Though the four of them have not seen
action in the same match so far this season, all have contributed in
their time on the floor. Chad Kingi, the starting libero, ranks third in
the conference with 162 total digs. Blaine Nielsen, a mainstay at the
beginning of the year, has recently made way for Austin Kingi, who accumulated
25 kills in his first two career apperances-both against BYU.
Weston Nielsen, who has seen time at outside hitter and libero, has
been a solid contributor in the passing game, compiling 1.33 digs per
game and a .944 reception percentage.

• I'll Be Here A While
This week's matches will mark the end of a five-match homestand for the
Gauchos that began almost two weeks ago against Long Beach State.
All remaining home games this season will be played at the Thunderdome,
and not at Rob Gym. All remaining matches are against MPSF