No. 3 UCSB to Play Pair with No. 4 Long Beach State

Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Ryan Wilcox (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Thursday, March 12 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara at No. 4 Long Beach State
Walter Pyramid
All-time record vs. the Beach: 50-47
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Video: BigWest.TV

Friday, March 13 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara vs No. 4 Long Beach State
Robertson Gym
All-time record vs. the Tritons: 38-8
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Video: BigWest.TV

The Gauchos have caught fire since losing their only two matches of the season in late January to now topped ranked BYU. UCSB currently rides an eight-match wins streak that dates back to February 7th. In that time, the Gauchos have picked up four sweeps and have outscored their opponents 24-5 in sets.

They also currently hold a perfect 8-0 record when playing at home and have forfeited just two sets.

Mr. Efficiency
Senior opposite hitter Keenan Sanders has had a potent swing all season long providing a reliable option on the Gaucho attack. He is currently second in the nation with a .521 hitting percentage. The Gaucho vet has posted 113 kills on just 188 attempts and has committed just 15 errors

Can You Dig It?
UCSB has been scrappy this season, finding ways to keep plays alive on the defensive end and this has shown up on the stat sheets. The Gauchos are currently second in the nation with a 10.55 digs per set average. They are also lead the nation with a 0.178 opponent hitting percentage.

DeWeese Earns Back-to-Back Big West AOW Awards
This past Monday senior outside-hitter Randy DeWeese collected his second straight Big West Athlete of the Week Award with two unique, dominant performances over No. 9 Pepperdine and USC.

He posted a career-high 20 kills in the sweeping of the Trojans, on a potent .515 (20-3-33) hitting percentage, and added four digs and a solo block. Against Pepperdine, DeWeese had six kills and a season-high 15 digs to go along with five blocks, one of which was solo.

On February 24, DeWeese collected his first career weekly nod. The senior tallied 22 kills over six sets to help the Gauchos sweep both No. 8 UCLA and No. 6 Pepperdine.

In Sweeping Fashion
The Gauchos have brought their brooms to the gym quite often this season collecting 10 of their 12 wins in three set sweeps. Four of those sweeps came over top-ten teams.

Staying Put
Ever since catching a hot start to the season that saw UCSB rise from the fifth ranked team in the nation, to the third, the Gauchos have maintained their spot among the best three teams in college volleyball. The top three: Hawai'i, BYU, and UCSB have all been locked into those three spots since January 20th, the second week of the season.

Double Threat
Senior setter Casey McGarry has been a huge part of UCSB's success this season on both sides of the ball. McGarry currently leads the Big West in both assists per set (10.59) and digs per set (2.48) and ranks fourth and fifth in the nation, respectively.

McGarry Earns Back-to-Back Off the Block Honors
Senior setter Casey McGarry was phenomenal in UCSB's 3-0 start at the 2020 UCSB Asics Invitational, leading the team to a potent .391 attack percentage on the back of his 102 assists and .576 assist rate. That stat-line earned him the Off the Block National Setter of the Week award opening week, and he once again earned the accolade after his 62 assists, 17 digs, and four service aces helped UCSB stay perfect through five games and 15 sets. 

2020 Vision
Following an 18-10 campaign in 2019 that saw the Gauchos ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation, UCSB brings back the bulk of its lineup and is poised for a successful 2020 season. Despite graduating All-Americans Corey Chavers and Hayden Boehle, Santa Barbara returns six pivotal rotation players from a year ago, headlined by AVCA Newcomer of the Year and Big West Freshman of the Year, Ryan Wilcox. Wilcox and middle blocker Brandon Hicks were both named to the conference's All-Freshman Team last season. UCSB also returns its dynamic setting duo of Randy DeWeese and Casey McGarry, along with key offensive pieces in Keenan Sanders and Spencer Fredrick

Big West Coaches Poll
The Gauchos were picked to finish second in the Big West in 2020 as the annual preseason coaches poll was announced in December. American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason No. 1 Hawai'i received all six first-place votes and 36 total votes to claim the top spot in the Big West poll, while UCSB received 28 votes. Back-to-back defending national champion Long Beach State was picked to finish third with 23 votes after losing a handful of key players, while UC Irvine was projected to finish fourth with 19 votes. CSUN (13 votes) and UC San Diego (seven votes) round out the six teams in the poll.

AVCA Preseason Poll
Following a strong 2019 campaign, Santa Barbara began the season ranked No. 5, as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll was announced in December. Big West rival Hawai'i will start the year No. 1 while Long Beach State is No. 4. No. 8 UC Irvine and No. 13 CSUN make up the conference schools in the Top-15.