Gauchos Open Season by Hosting the UCSB asics Invitational

Miles Evans (Photo by Tony Mastres)

• The Schedule

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
UCSB asics Invitational
No. 13 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 6 UCLA
Series record vs. the Bruins – 32-118
Streak – Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Bruins – L, 3-1 (2/10/12)

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UCSB asics Invitational
UC Santa Barbara vs. UCSD or No. 5 Lewis
Series record vs. the Tritons – 27-7
Streak – Lost 2
Last time out vs. the Tritons – L, 3-1 (3/9/2012)
Series record vs. the Flyers – 4-2
Streak – Won 3
Last time out vs. the Flyers – W, 3-0 (3/12/11)

Saturday,  Jan. 5, 2013 at TBA
UCSB asics Invitational
UC Santa Barbara vs. TBA

• Tournament Location and Ticket Information 
The UCSB asics Invitational will take place in a pair of venues – the Thunderdome and Rob Gym. Both of UCSB's Friday matches will take place in Rob Gym, while the other six Friday matches will be played at the Thunderdome. All Saturday matches will be played in Rob Gym. Single day tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for youth/seniors/military. All-session passes are $25 for adults, and $15 for youth/seniors/military. Passes can be purchased in-person at both venues. Fan resources, including campus/parking maps and driving directions, can be found here.

• Davis Ready to Lead
Senior middle blocker Dylan Davis – the sole starter remaining from the 2011 squad that won the MPSF Championship – figures to play a prominent role in the Gauchos fortunes this season. The Newport Beach, Calif. native was one of just four middles in the nation to be selected to Off the Block's 2013 Preseason All-American team. Davis led the Gauchos in blocking in 2012 with 1.16 stuffs per game, hit .344 and one was one of just three UCSB players to appear in every match. Davis is prone to statistical outbursts, as he holds the school record for block assists in a match (13 at CSUN on Feb. 29, 2012) and the NCAA tournament record for hitting percentage in a match (.882 vs USC on May 5, 2011).

• Hello Again
The 2013 Gauchos squad will look very familiar to the 2012 iteration, as six of seven starters return. Overall, 13 letterwinners will return, while Rick McLaughlin lost just one player to graduation in Blaine Nielsen. Expect seniors Miles Evans and Dylan Davis to set the tone for a mostly-young team.

• Under the Radar Evans
Senior outside hitter Miles Evans quietly put together one of the better seasons from an outside hitter in the country in 2012, leading his squad by significant margins in kills (325), kill average (3.46 per game), attacks (729), and points (370.0), while placing second in digs  (164), aces (15), and blocks (56). The Gauchos will need another solid all-around campaign from Evans to compete in 2013.

• Moving On Up
Assistant coach Tyson Norton was promoted to the first assistant position following the depature of Aaron Mansfield. It is Norton's second year on the coaching staff.

• Welcome the Lancers
The 2013 season will see a new team among the MPSF ranks. The California Baptist Lancers, located in Riverside, Calif., become the 13th volleyball team in the conference. The top eight teams in the conference advance to the MPSF tournament after the regular season. The Gauchos face off against the Lancers on Feb. 5 at home and Apr. 3 away, but could play them as early as Saturday in the UCSB asics Invitational.

• Up and Comers
This year's team features six new players – four true freshmen and two redshirt freshmen. A well balanced group which includes two setters, two outsides, one middle blocker, and one libero should give the Gauchos depth and reason to look forward to the future.

• Au Revoir
Compared to last year's team, which featured just one senior, the 2013 squad is significantly more experienced with five players in their senior years. Besides the outlier year of 2011, this is the most senior-laden squad UCSB has fielded during Rick McLaughlin's tenure.

• Pollsters
The Gauchos debuted at No. 13 in the AVCA preseason poll, up one spot from the same poll last season. Ten of the 13 MPSF teams appeared on the 15-team poll, while all 13 teams received votes.