No. 5 Gauchos Close Out Regular Season by Hosting Cal Baptist, BYU

No. 5 Gauchos Close Out Regular Season by Hosting Cal Baptist, BYU

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, Apr. 9, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
No. 5 UCSB (15-8, 14-8) vs. Cal Baptist (4-22, 2-20)
at Rob Gym
Series record vs. Cal Baptist – 8-6
Streak vs. the Lancers – Won 1
UCSB Streak Overall – Lost 1
Cal Baptist Streak Overall – Lost 10
Last time out – W, 3-0 @ Cal Baptist (3/26/14)

Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
No. 5 UCSB (15-8, 14-8) vs. No. 3 BYU (18-6, 18-4)
at Rob Gym
Series record vs. BYU – 21-35
Streak vs. the Cougars – Lost 3
UCSB Streak Overall – Lost 1
BYU Streak Overall – Lost 2
Last time out – L, 3-2 @ BYU (3/28/14)

• Venue Change
Friday night's match against BYU has been moved from the Thunderdome, as originally scheduled, to Rob Gym, where the Gauchos have played all their home contests this season.

• The Week in Review
For the third consecutive time, UCSB split a pair of matches last week, pulling off a five-set win at Long Beach State on Thursday before falling victim to an upset at the hands of Cal State Northridge on Saturday. Against the 49ers, UCSB was led by setter Jonah Seif, whose career-high 61 assists led to a career-high 21 kills from Matt Hanley and another 32 combined kills from Weston Nielsen (17) and Evan Licht (15). Libero Chad Kingi put on a defensive clinic with an astounding 24 digs. It was the first time UCSB swept the season series from LBSU since 2007. Against the Matadors, three Gauchos finished in double-digit kills (Hanley, Nielsen, Licht), but CSUN's .349 team-hitting percentage turned out to be the difference. Reigning MPSF Player of the Week Sam Holt had a match-high 18 kills to pace the Northridge offense.

• Poll Position
This Monday's American Volleyball Coaches Association poll ranked the Gauchos at No. 5 in the nation for the fourth straight week. UCSB has been ranked as high as No. 4 this year, the program's highest ranking since the 2011 season.

• Win and You're In
Heading into the final week of the season, UCSB needs just one win from their final two matches OR a single loss from either Hawai'i or Long Beach State to clinch a spot in the MPSF Tournament.

• Senior Night
The last regular season home match of the season, Friday's match will see four UCSB seniors honored before first serve: OH Matt Hanley, MB Ryan Thompson, L Chad Kingi, and Opp. Evan Licht.

• Tourney-Tested
With an appearance in next week's conference tournament, UCSB will have wrapped up postseason appearances in consecutive seasons for the first time in the McLaughlin era and the first time overall since the 2006-07 seasons.

• Top Dogs
Behind strong serving and blocking efforts all year, the Gauchos currently can lay claim to the top opponents' hitting percentage in the conference at .234. UCSB has led the MPSF in this statistic virtually all year.

• Can You Dig It?
Senior libero Chad Kingi's 24-dig performance against LBSU was significant in a number of ways. The second-highest UCSB dig total in the rally scoring era and fifth-highest all-time , it was the most by a Gaucho since Aaron Mansfield had 26 on Jan. 23, 2004 and the most by any MPSF player since the 2009 season. His 32-dig week gives him 697 in his career, ranking fifth in program history.  

• Hot Start at Home
With a 10-2 record at home, the Gauchos are  off to their best 12-match start to a home schedule in the MPSF era (since 1993). UCSB is currently maintaining the second-best home winning percentage in the conference behind undefeated BYU.

• Spreading the Ball Around
Sophomore setter Jonah Seif's 61-assist effort against LBSU was just an example of what he's being doing all year: spreading the ball around equally. Five different Gauchos have led the team in kills so far this season, led by Austin Kingi and Licht (seven times apiece) and followed by Hanley (six times), Nielsen (five), and Ryan Thompson (once). Seif's 61 assists were the most by a Gaucho since Vince Devany had 63 against Hawai'i on Feb. 3, 2011.

• Licht It Up
With 34 aces this season, senior opposite Evan Licht is making a dent in the UCSB record book and in the opposition's serve-receive game plan. Ranked fourth in the MPSF in aces per game (0.37), he now is fourth in UCSB program history with 84 career aces. Bryan Berman is one spot ahead of Licht with 91 career aces.

• California Dreaming
UC Santa Barbara is the only squad in NCAA men's volleyball to have a team comprised solely of players from California.