Gauchos Head North to Take On Pacific, Stanford

Austin Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (3-3, 1-2) at No. 14 Pacific (2-2, 1-2)
at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif.
Series record vs. the Tigers – 22-13
Streak vs the Tigers – Lost 3
UCSB Streak Overall – Lost 2
Pacific Streak Overall – Won 1
Last time out vs. the Tigers – L, 3-2 (4/14/2012)

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (3-3, 1-2) at No. 4 Stanford (5-2, 2-2)
at the Maples Pavillion in Palo Alto, Calif.
Series record vs. the Cardinals – 43-30
Streak vs. the Cardinals – Lost 2
UCSB Streak Overall – Lost 2
Stanford Streak Overall – Won 1
Last time out vs. the Cardinals – L, 3-0 (4/13/2012)

• The Bruins Still Undefeated Against UCSB this Season
UCSB was unable to avenge their first loss of the season against UCLA last Friday night. The Gauchos started out strong, taking the first set (25-21). However, the Bruins rallied back, winning the next three sets to end the match (17-25, 27-25, 19-25). Overall, UCLA outserved (10-4 serving aces), outswung (55-40 kills), and outblocked (8-2 total blocks)the Gauchos. This left the Gauchos struggling to find an effective combination of players to match their strong opposition, tallying a season-high 13 players seeing the court. Key players for UCSB included Matt Marsh, putting down 16 kills, and Chad Kingi, picking up nine digs. Ultimately, the Gauchos were hurt by UCLA's Robart Page (15 kills), Kene Izuchukwu (14 kills), and Gonzalo Quiroga (12 kills). The Gauchos will have to go back to the drawing board before they travel to UCLA on February 27 in hopes of redemption. UCSB's last victory over UCLA was on 2/11/11.

Killing in Conference Offense
Despite a conference record of 1-2, the Gauchos have put up impressive numbers on the offensive front.  As a team, UCSB has pounded 149 kills, a total that outshines their oppositions total combination of 139 through six matches. Leading the team is Matt Marsh with 43 kills. Austin Kingi and Weston Nielsen have also contributed on the attack, with 32 and 22 kills respectively.

Kingi Brothers Digging Deep
Throughout the season, UCSB has been scooping up digs all over the court. At the top of the MPSF dig list is junior libero Chad Kingi, who has recorded 61 digs this season, averaging 2.77 digs per set. Next for UCSB is his brother, sophomore outside hitter Austin Kingi. Austin has accumulated 42 digs, averaging 1.83 digs per set. Their on point passing is a great asset for Gaucho setters and an impressive start to the team's offense.

Evans on the Comeback
The Gauchos tested out Miles Evans in last Friday night's game against the Bruins. Evans is working his way back on to the court after a lingering injury. Entering as sub in the second set and starting in the fourth, Evans put down three kills on only eight swings.  Previously this season against UCLA (1/4/13), Evans recorded a notable 11 kills.  The senior outside hitter has been known to hit as many as 21 kills in a match. Last season, Evans led the team in kills (325) and was second highest in total blocks (56). Undoubtely, Evans would be an added force to the Gaucho's artillery right now and the team will benefit when he reaches a full recovery and gets back into the swing of things.   

Rise of the Freshmen
UCSB's Freshman have been a crucial role to the team's success. Freshmen Jonah Seif and Andrew Kocur lead the team in assists. Sp far in the young season, Seif has accumulated an impressive 197 assists and Kocur has picked up 47. Seif has recorded 50 assists twice already, tying Oliver Deutschman's 2012 total of 50+ assist matches. On the receiving end of a set, middle blocker Ryan Hardy is a major source of kills (29). Hardy ranks second in hitting percentage for the MPSF conference with an incredible .500 average. As the season progresses and the chemistry increases, these players can only add to the Gaucho's diversity and line-up. It has undoubtedly been a remarkable start to these new players' careers at UCSB.

Gauchos Hit the Road
The Gauchos have had only one away match this season, which was against Cal State Northridge. The Matadors closed out a close match, winning 3-2. UCSB now faces their next two away games against No. 14 Pacific and No. 4 Stanford. The Gauchos are ready to end their current losing streaks against both teams, as they have lost the last 3 to the Tigers and the last 2 to the Cardinals.  The Gauchos went just 2-9 on the road during the 2012 season, so improvement will be necessary for the Gauchos to creep up the standings.