No. 4 UCSB Hosts Lindenwood Friday Night

No. 4 UCSB Hosts Lindenwood Friday Night

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• The Schedule
Friday, Mar. 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (14-3) vs. Lindenwood (7-11)
Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time Record / Streak vs. the Lions: First Meeting
LU Streak / Last 10 – Lost 2 / 5-5
UCSB Streak / Last 10 – Won 11 / 10-0
Last Meeting: N/A

• The Week Ahead
The No. 4 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team looks to extend its 11-match win streak in its final non-conference match against Lindenwood this Friday, Mar. 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Rob Gym. The match is available to stream via BigWest.TV and live stats are available on UCSBGauchos.com

• The Week in Review
After a two-week layoff, the Gauchos showed no signs of rust in a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-21) sweep over UC San Diego on Friday. With the win, UCSB improved to 2-0 in Big West play and have now won 11 straight matches. UCSB was efficient all evening, hitting .400 (37-11-65) as a team while the Tritons hit just .162 (23-12-68). Ryan Wilcox led all players with 10 kills on the night, hitting an incredible .500 (10-2-16) percentage while Spencer Fredrick finished with nine kills while hitting .312 (9-4-16). Corey Chavers saw his streak of 10 straight matches with double-digit kills come to an end, finishing with six kills. 

• Poll Position
For the second consecutive week, the Gauchos have moved up a spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Poll, coming in at No. 4, its highest ranking of the season and highest ranking since UCSB reached No. 3 back in 2015. The top four programs in the nation now all reside in the Big West as the top three remain unchanged with No. 1 Long Beach State, No. 2 Hawai'i and No. 3 UC Irvine. CSUN comes in at No. 12, giving the Big West five programs in the Top-12. 

• Inside the Streak
No. 4 UCSB has now won 11 straight matches, the longest for the Gauchos in the rally-scoring era, and longest since the 1987 Gauchos also won 11 in-a-row. UCSB also had an 11-match win streak in 1981, and the current Gauchos will look to make it 12 in-a-row this Friday, for the longest streak on record (since 1980). Seven of its 11 wins have come at the expense of AVCA Top-15 opponents. 

• Looking at the Lions
Lindenwood is 7-11 entering Friday night's match at UCSB and is coming off a pair of losses, having been swept by No. 15 Ball State and No. 12 Purdue Fort Wayne to kick off its current five-match road trip. The Lions are led by Charley Hlavin (167 kills, 2.78 k/s), Nick Stevenson (129 kills, 2.26 k/s) and setter Adam Brewster (576 assists, 9.60 a/s) on the offensive end while Connor Hipelius (73 total blocks, 1.11 b/s) leads the way defensively. 

• Wilcox Named Freshman Player of the Week (Again)
After leading UCSB to a 3-0 sweep over UC San Diego on Friday, Ryan Wilcox was named Big West Freshman Player of the Week. The Gauchos have earned four of the nine Freshman Player of the Week awards this season, with Wilcox now a three-time recipient. Brandon Hicks (Feb. 11) was also recognized. Wilcox, a Honolulu, Hawaii native, finished with a match-high 10 kills to go along with two service aces and a dig. The 6-foot-2 outside hitter hit .500 (10-2-16) for the match and reached double-digit kills for the sixth time this season.

• Chavers Leading the Charge
Senior outside hitter Corey Chavers is having a phenomenal season by all accounts, already a three-time Big West Player of the Week, AVCA National Player of the Week and Off the Block's National Outside Attacker of the Week, twice. Chavers had 10 consecutive matches with double-digit kills up until Friday's match against UCSD. For the season, he leads the team by far with 236 kills (3.75 k/s) and 32 service aces. Not a one-trick pony, Chavers is also among the team leaders in digs (66) and total blocks (32). 

• Battle Tested
Overall this season, Santa Barbara has played 12 AVCA Top-15 ranked opponents, going 9-3 against them. UCSB has the toughest schedule in the nation when looking at its cumulative opposition, currently with a .643 winning percentage (252-140). Down the stretch, the Gauchos also have the toughest schedule in the nation, facing the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams in its remaining conference play. 

• Freshman Phenoms
Three freshmen, Haotian Xia, Ryan Wilcox, and Brandon Hicks have proven themselves early on and made immediate impacts for an already deep and talented UCSB team. Both Wilcox (three times) and Brandon Hicks have won Big West Freshman of the Week honors while Xia has been nominated several times and had a career-high of 18 kills at No. 14 Ball State on Jan. 18. Hicks leads the team with 54 total blocks while Wilcox is second on the team with 132 kills.  

• Big West Preseason Coaches Poll
The Gauchos were picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference, according to the annual preseason coaches poll. With 36 points, including all six first-place votes, reigning Big West and NCAA champion Long Beach State was a unanimous choice for the No. 1 slot in the poll. Hawai'i came in second with 28 while UC Irvine was a close third at 26. UCSB came in at No. 4 with 16 votes followed by CSUN with 11 and UC San Diego with nine.