Gauchos to Appear on ESPN3, Face Nationally-Ranked MIVA Duo

Photo by Eric Isaacs
Photo by Eric Isaacs

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• The Schedule
Thursday, January 25 at 5:00 PM PT
UCSB vs. No. 8 Loyola-Chicago (4-2)
at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.
TV: ESPN3
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Ramblers – 2-0 / Won 2
Record vs. LUC in McLaughlin era: 2-0
Record at LUC in McLaughlin era: 1-0
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Won 2 / 3-1
Loyola Streak / Last 10 – Won 2 / 4-2
Last time out: UCSB 3-1 (1/3/16 @ LUC)

Saturday, January 27 at 12:00 PM PT
UCSB vs. No. 11 Lewis (3-3)
at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill.
TV/Live Stats: LewisFlyers.com
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Ramblers – 5-4 / Lost 2
Record vs. LUC in McLaughlin era: 2-2
Record at LUC in McLaughlin era: 0-1
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Won 2 / 3-1
Loyola Streak / Last 10 – Won 3 / 3-3
Last time out: Lewis 3-1 UCSB (3/11/17 @ UCSB)

• The Week Ahead
This week, UCSB continues a road swing with a pair of matches at MIVA powers Loyola-Chicago and Lewis, both ranked in the top-15 nationwide. Thursday's showdown at Loyola, set for a 5:00 PM PT first serve, will appear on ESPN3. 

• The Week in Review
Playing their first match in two weeks due to the Montecito mudslides, which caused the rescheduling of matches against UCLA and USC, the Gauchos put it all together in a 3-1 upset over No. 10 Pepperdine last Saturday in Malibu, Calif. Junior outside hitter Corey Chavers was the X-factor in the match, leading the team in kills (24), blocks, (six, tied with Jack Truman), and aces (two) while UCSB outhit the Waves .220 to .118 overall. Sophomore outside Roy McFarland added a dozen kills while sophomore libero Grady Yould led all players with 13 digs, a personal season high. 

• Road Warriors
UCSB is in the midst of a five-match, three-week road trip. The Gauchos were originally scheduled for a seven-match, four-week jaunt until Mother Nature caused the rescheduling of matches originally set for Jan. 12 and Jan. 13. The team's next home match is on Feb. 21 against Pepperdine; the 46-day gap between home matchups is the longest of the McLaughlin era (since 2009). 

• Chavers Named Big West Player of the Week
Following his standout performance against Pepperdine, Chavers was named the Big West Conference's Player of the Week, becoming the first Gaucho of the Big West era – the league started sponsoring men's volleyball for the first time in 2018 – to take home weekly honors. Chavers' 24 kills were a career high, topping his previous best of 18, and he hit .333 on the night while leading or co-leading the team in blocks and aces. He is just the fourth Gaucho of the Rick McLaughlin era (since 2009) to post 24 kills in a match and just the second since 2011. He is also UCSB's first conference player of the week since All-American setter Jonah Seif earned MPSF accolades on Apr. 11, 2016.

• Last Week Not a Blip for Chavers
The 24-kill outburst by Chavers in Malibu was the peak performance in what has been a more-than-solid season so far for Chavers. The Downey, Calif. native is averaging exactly 4.0 kills per set, which ranks second in the Big West and third in the country. He's posted double-digit kills in all but one match (vs. Stanford), a contest in which he posted nine kills on .316 hitting. 

• Rank and File
UCSB made its debut in the AVCA Division I-II national poll this week, coming in at No. 15. The Gauchos had received votes in the first two polls of the season. This week's opponents, Loyola-Chicago and Lewis, are ranked No. 8 and No. 11, respectively. 

• Kingslayers
UCSB has shown no trepidation going up against top opponents so far this season, as the team has recorded a 2-0 record against ranked teams in No. 9 Stanford and No. 10 Pepperdine (rankings accurate as of date of the contest). 

• California Boys
As is usually the case, the 2018 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. 

• The Gaucho Roofing Company
One area where the Gauchos have excelled in particular so far this year is at the net, where they have outblocked their opponents 40.5 to 31.5 while notching a 2.70 blocks per set average that ranks third in the Big West and sixth in the country. Junior middle Connor Drake has led the way with a 1.30 blocks per set average (fourth in the Big West), but both Jack Truman (1.0 per set) and Brandon Hopper (0.9 per set) have been getting it done as well.

• Consistent McFarland
A sophomore outside, Roy McFarland has been a picture of consistency for the Gauchos this season. He has posted exactly 12 kills in three of four matches this season, giving him a 3.0 kills per set average which ranks second on the squad behind Chavers. The one match he didn't reach 12 kills was arguably his best offensive performance of the season, as he needed just 14 swings to knock down nine kills in a sweep of Stanford on Jan. 6. He has hit over .300 in three of four matches this year, and his .337 overall clip for the season ranks second among Big West outside hitters. 

• Breakout Debut
Jack Truman, a redshirt freshman middle, burst onto the scene in his debut this season against St. Francis on Jan. 5, recording 15 kills on 21 swings. That is the most kills by any UCSB player in a debut in the McLaughlin era, and he is one of just three Gaucho middles under McLaughlin to post 15 kills in a match (last: Dylan Davis vs. LBSU on Mar. 12, 2012).