No. 5 UCSB Hosts UCLA in First Home Playoff Match Since 2007, Tix Available Now

Chad Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Chad Kingi (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
(4) UCSB (17-8, 16-8) vs. (5) UCLA (18-10, 15-9)
at Rob Gym
AVCA Ranks: UCSB (5), UCLA (9)
Series record/streak vs. UCLA – 34-121/Won 1
UCSB Streak/Last 10 – Won 2/7-3
UCLA Streak/Last 10 – Won 3/5-5
2014 series: Tied 1-1
Last time out – W, 3-0 @ UCSB (3/5/14)

• Ticket Information
Tickets for the MPSF Quarterfinal match will be sold at $10 for adults and $5 for students and youth. Tickets can be purchased by calling 805-893-UCSB or clicking here. UCSB Athletics will be distributing complimentary tickets to the first 200 students to claim them from the Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office on campus on Thursday. The Ticket Office is open until 4:00 p.m.

• Gauchos End Up Fourth After Wild MPSF Regular Season
After what was arguably the most unpredictable and parity-filled regular season in the history of the MPSF, UCSB ended up in fourth place, just two games behind top-seeded BYU. The team's 17-8 overall record and 16-8 conference record were the best in some time and represented the best regular season in Rick McLaughlin's tenure (since 2009). UCSB's overall winning percentage of .680 was the second highest in the MPSF era (1996: .692), as was its .667 conference winning percentage (1997: .684). In addition, the team's 16 conference wins were the most in program history,

• Resilient at Rob
With a 12-2 record at Rob Gym this season, the Gauchos recorded the best home winning percentage for the program in the MPSF era (.857). Among MPSF teams, only undefeated BYU was better at home. UCSB's only losses at home this season came at the hands of UC Irvine and Pepperdine.

• Postseason Volleyball Returns to Santa Barbara
By virtue of earning the fourth seed in the MPSF Tournament, the Gauchos will host their MPSF Quarterfinal match. This is the first time UCSB has hosted a postseason match since the 2007 season. Like Saturday's match, that 2007 contest featured the fourth-seeded Gauchos hosting the fifth-seeded Bruins. UCSB bested UCLA in four games in the 2007 quarterfinal before falling to Pepperdine in the next round.

• Tournament History Under McLaughlin
This is the third appearance in the MPSF Tournament for UCSB in Rick McLaughlin's tenure, with previous tournament trips occuring in 2011 and 2013. The Gauchos sport a 3-1 overall record in MPSF Tournament games under McLaughlin, going an undefeated 3-0 en route to the Tournament Championship and bowing out in the first round to eventual national champion UC Irvine last year. In 2011, the seventh-seeded Gauchos upset second-seeded BYU, sixth-seeded Long Beach State, and top-seeded USC, all on the road. Last year's first-round loss saw the Gauchos push UCI to five games at the Bren Center, but the team was ultimately unable to pull off the upset.

• NCAA Experience
This year's UCSB squad consists of five members who were a part of the 2011 NCAA Championship runner up team. Of the five, Evan Licht played the largest part, appearing in 25 matches, mostly as a serving specialist, and recording nine aces. Chad Kingi was the backup setter that year. Weston Nielsen, Jake Staahl, and Kevin Donohue all redshirted that year.

• Back-to-Back
This is UC Santa Barbara's first time clinching consecutive postseason berths under McLaughlin and the first time overall since the 2006-07 seasons.

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

• All-American Talent
When the Gauchos take the court on Saturday night, they will start three players up for AVCA All-American consideration in setter Jonah Seif, libero Chad Kingi, and middle blocker Jake Staahl.

• Staahling the Opposition
Junior middle blocker Jake Staahl finished the regular season with the fourth-best blocking average (1.24 per game) and seventh-best hitting percentage (.417) in the conference. He was one of just two players, alongside Hawai'i's Taylor Averill, to finish in the top-seven in both categories.

• Licht It Up
Finishing the regular season with the third most aces in the conference (40), senior Evan Licht continues to ascend the UCSB record book in that category. With 90 career aces, he ranks fourth in program history, just one behind third-place Bryan Berman. Licht has recorded an ace in all but five matches this season, and had multiple aces on nine occasions, including seven against Pepperdine on Mar. 14, becoming just the third UCSB player in the rally-scoring era and first since 2009 to accomplish the feat.

• King-i of the Dig
UCSB's senior libero, Chad Kingi, just wrapped up his third consecutive 200-dig campaign (220 in the regular season). Having already recorded the third most single-season digs in program history last year (271), Kingi ranks fifth all-time in the UCSB annals with 707 career digs. His 24-dig performance at Long Beach State on Apr. 3 of this year was the most by a UCSB player since 2004, the second-most in the rally-scoring era, and fifth-most all-time. He was also the first player from any MPSF squad since the 2009 season to record two dozen scoops.

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