Preston to be Honored, UCSB Wraps Regular Season With Two Against BYU

Former UCSB head coach Ken Preston, pictured, will be inducted as a Legend of the Dome in Friday's season finale vs. BYU
Former UCSB head coach Ken Preston, pictured, will be inducted as a Legend of the Dome in Friday's season finale vs. BYU

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• The Schedule
Thursday, Apr. 6 at 7 PM PT
UCSB vs. No. 3 BYU (21-3, 14-2 MPSF)
at Rob Gym
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Cougars – 23-40 / Lost 4
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Lost 3 / 4-6
BYU Streak / Last 10 – Lost 1 / 9-1
Last time out: BYU 3-2 UCSB (MPSF Tourney Semis, 4/21/16 @ BYU)
Video/Live Stats: UCSBGauchos.com

Friday, Apr. 7 at 5 PM PT
UCSB vs. No. 3 BYU
at the Thunderdome
Video/Live Stats: UCSBGauchos.com

• The Week Ahead
This week, UCSB finishes up the regular season with two home contests against BYU, first on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Rob Gym and then Friday at 5:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Both matches will be streamed live on UCSBGauchos.com.

• Ken Preston to Be Honored Friday
Former UCSB head coach Ken Preston, the winningest bench boss in program history, will be named a Legend of the Dome between the second and third sets of Friday's contest against BYU. Over a 30 year career, Preston won over 500 games, reached the postseason 19 times, played for the 1988 national championship, and produced 27 All-Americans and 49 All-MPSF selections.

• Farewell!
Before Friday's matchup with the Cougars, a trio of seniors – setter Grady Zant, outside hitter Jacob Delson, and libero Parker Boehle – will be honored on Senior Night. The trio will be playing in their final home matches as Gauchos.

• The Week in Review
UCSB suffered a pair of conference losses last week on the road, falling to Cal Baptist in five on Thursday before dropping a three-setter to USC on Friday. The Gauchos went up 2-0 on the Lancers and received standout performances from Jacob Delson (20 kills) and Parker Boehle (17 digs), but couldn't weather a comeback from the home team which won the fifth set 27-25. Delson once again led UCSB with 13 kills against the Trojans, who hit .361 in the sweep.

• Playoff Picture
Many of UCSB's potential routes to the playoffs were cut off last week with the pair of losses. But the Gauchos still have a chance to make the annual MPSF Tourney. There are two scenarios in which UCSB can advance: (1) The Gauchos defeat BYU two times and USC loses twice this week to Cal Baptist (2) UCSB defeats BYU once, USC loses twice, and a CSUN win at LBSU.

• Many Marathons
UCSB's fifth set against Cal Baptist (27-25) was the second-longest in MPSF history behind a 28-26 outcome between BYU and UCI in 2008. The Gauchos went to extra points in three of eight sets last week, going 0-3.

• Can You Dig It?
Behind senior libero Parker Boehle's 2.25 digs per set average, the Gauchos enter the week with the best digs rate in the league at 9.09 per game. A total of four UCSB players are averaging more than 1.50 digs per set, while seven are scooping at 1.00 digs per set or higher. The Gauchos had a 9.71 digs per set average as a team in March.

• Rank and File
UCSB dropped out of the AVCA Division I-II national poll this week, the first time this year that the Gauchos have been unranked. BYU meanwhile checks in at No. 3.

• Delson is Excellin'
Outside hitter Jacob Delson is having a breakthrough season as a senior, as he has recorded a 4.43 kills per set average this year which ranks second in the MPSF and third in the country among qualified players. He played sparingly in March due to a tender ankle, but totaled a team-high 22 kills against Lewis in his longest outing. Earlier this season, he grabbed 34 kills against UC Irvine, becoming just the second Gaucho in the McLaughlin era (since 2008) to reach that mark and the first since Jeff Menzel in 2010.

• California Boys
As is usually the case, the 2017 UCSB men's volleyball team is comprised solely of California natives. The Gauchos are the only NCAA Division I-II team made up entirely of players from California.

• Block Party
UCSB's young middle blocking corps has proved to be effective beyond its years this season, as a number of Gaucho middles are putting forth excellent statistical seasons. Just a freshman, San Diego native Keenan Sanders has been the Gauchos' most consistent middle, with eight double-digit kill performances on a .405 hitting. Meanwhile, sophomore Connor Drake has been on fire at the net lately, grabbing 53 blocks since the start of February to increase his blocking average to 1.22 per game, second-best in the MPSF. Last but not least, sophomore Henri Cherry has been effective off the quick hit when called upon, hitting at a .418 clip (eighth in the MPSF).

• Big West Adds Men's Volleyball
2017 will be the last season in the MPSF for UCSB, as the Gauchos will be an inaugural member when the Big West Conference adds men's volleyball for the 2018 season. They will be joined by Hawaii, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, CSUN, and UC San Diego.

• Bright Future
Though the team only returned two starters from last season, the future looks bright for the Gauchos, as the coaching staff brought in the No. 5 ranked recruiting class this season. Three freshmen, middle Keenan Sanders and setters Casey McGarry and Randy DeWeese, have received heavy playing time already.