PROVO -- This weekend the BYU men's volleyball team travels to Santa Barbara to take on Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent UC Santa Barbara in back-to-back matches Feb. 14 and 15.
The Gauchos (3-8, 1-6 MPSF), ranked 14th in the nation, are coming off a 3-0 non-conference win over UC Santa Cruz on Feb. 11, while the fourth-ranked Cougars (7-1, 7-1 MPSF) defeated MPSF foe UC San Diego in back-to-back matches last weekend, 3-0 and 3-1.
"UC Santa Barbara is a decent team, especially the defense," BYU head coach Tom Peterson said. "We will have to match their intensity, and playing (in Santa Barbara) we will have more distractions."
Distractions or not, the key to winning this weekend will be a consistent technique and strong emotion coming from the Cougar ranks.
"We are better when we are emotional," Peterson said, "but we have to be consistent."
As for UC Santa Barbara, BYU leads the series 14-12 since 1990, but is behind 5-7 in Santa Barbara. Last year, the Cougars hosted the Gauchos in Provo and came away with a pair of 3-0 wins.
Both matches begin at 7 p.m. (PST) in Robertson Gym in Santa Barbara.
The Cougars will return home next week to host No. 1 Hawaii on February 20 and 21. Thursday night's match will be at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse, and Friday's match will be held at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center as the Cougars aim to re-break the NCAA attendance record set in 1999 against Hawaii with 14,156 fans in attendance.