SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After leading the team to a pair of sweeps in the first weekend of conference action, UC Santa Barbara's trio of Lindsey Ruddins, Emilia Petrachi, and Nicole Omwanghe each took home Big West weekly honors, the league announced on Monday.
Ruddins, a redshirt sophomore outside hitter who paced the Gaucho offense to the tune of 7.67 kills per set, was the Big West Player of the Week. Junior libero Emilia Petrachi averaged a gaudy 7.83 digs per set en route to Defensive Player of the Week honors, and Omwanghe hit .556 out of the middle to earn Freshman of the Week honors.
"Our team has been working very hard to improve in many areas, and it was great to see a weekend where the results showed that hard work," said UCSB head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
Entering the weekend with the second best kills average in the nation, Ruddins topped her own lofty standards in a pair of wins over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. Against the Highlanders, she posted a 24-kill, 14-dig double-double and hit .380. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native also dealt the set-clinching shot in all three games, helping Lantagne Welch to her 300th career win. She fared just as well against the Titans on Saturday, landing 22 kills on .450 hitting, a season-high. A five-time Big West Freshman of the Week honoree in 2016, this is the first career Player of the Week honor for Ruddins.
"Lindsey's attacking and defensive numbers were outstanding," said Lantagne Welch. "For an outside hitter to have as much success at such a high hitting percentage is very special so this honor is well deserved."
One of the top liberos in the conference, Petrachi added to an already-strong year with perhaps her two best performances of the season to pick up her fourth career Big West Defensive Player of the Week award. Taking a 4.6 digs per set average into the weekend, Petrachi needed just three sets to record a match-high 19 digs against UC Riverside. She then went on to record 28 digs against Cal State Fullerton, the most by any Big West player in a three-set match this season. Her strong back row play was a huge reason the Gauchos were able to limit the Titans to a lowly .061 hitting percentage.
"Emi's defensive performance last week was extremely impressive," said Lantagne Welch. "She was just doing her job and being reliable in the back row. Her efforts mean so much to this team."
With back-to-back efficient performances on the attack and a solid display at the net, Omwanghe was able to pick up her first career Big West weekly award. The Claremont, Calif. native posted eight kills and hit over .500 in both of the team's matches last week. She needed just 12 swings to reach eight kills against UCR, and then went without an error on 15 swings against the Titans. She also added a combined 11 blocks (1.83 per set) over the two matches. After one week of Big West action, she leads the league in both blocking and hitting percentage (.556).
"Nicole has really come on for us as of late," said Lantagne Welch. "She's really stepped up her game and is impacting matches not just with her attack, but her blocking as well."
Riding a three-match winning streak, UCSB will look to continue its strong play this week at CSUN on Friday night and then at Long Beach State Saturday night in an ESPN3-televised match.