UCSB Welcomes Long Beach State, CSUN for Pair of Big West Clashes

UCSB Welcomes Long Beach State, CSUN for Pair of Big West Clashes

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Big West TV

• The Schedule 
Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Long Beach State (6-15, 3-5)
at the Thunderdome
Stream: Big West TV
All-time record vs. 49ers: 36-70
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 0-9
Streak vs. LBSU: Lost 12
2016: UCSB went 0-2 against LBSU
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (9/30/17 @ LBSU)

Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. CSUN (10-9, 4-3 Big West)
at the Thunderdome
Stream: Big West TV
All-time record vs. Matadors: 35-10
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 5-4
Streak vs. CSUN: Lost 1
2016: UCSB went 2-0 against CSUN
Last meeting: L, 3-1 (9/29/17 @ CSUN)

• Up Next
This week, the Gauchos will open a stretch that will see them play five of six matches at home, starting with Long Beach State on Friday night and then CSUN on Saturday night. UCSB will be looking to avenge losses to both teams, as the Gauchos fell to each opponent on the road in the second weekend of Big West action. Both matches are set for 7:00 p.m. start times. UCSB volleyball fans should note that next Saturday's match against Hawai'i (Oct. 28) will commence at 5:00 p.m. and will be played at Rob Gym, not the Thunderdome. 

• Gauchos on the Air
Both of UCSB's matches over the next week, and all league matches this season, will be streamed live through Big West TV. In addition, the Gauchos are set to make a third appearance on ESPN3 for Nov. 18's contest at UC Riverside. Links to all broadcasts can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page on UCSBGauchos.com.

• The Week in Review
UCSB split a pair of Big West matches over the last week, falling in four at home to No. 24 Cal Poly on Saturday before rebounding with a 3-1 win at UC Davis Tuesday, the squad's first road victory of the year. Led by Lindsey Ruddins' co-match-high 21 kills, the Gauchos played well early and claimed the first set, but the Mustangs recovered to win the final three games en route to their 12th straight victory. With 26 kills, Ruddins was once again UCSB's offensive leader against the Aggies. Charlie Robinson added five blocks and three aces to help the Gauchos to big advantages at the line (7-3 in aces) and at the net (10-4 in blocks). UCSB's .242 team hitting percentage – the Gauchos hit over .250 in three of four games – at The Pavillion was its highest in the month of October.

• Lantagne Welch Earns Career Win Number 300
UCSB's 3-0 victory over UC Riverside on Sept. 22 gave head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch the 300th win of her esteemed career. In her 17th season overall as a head coach (12 years at Miami), she is the winningest active coach in the Big West. 58 of Lantagne Welch's 302 career victories have come as the bench boss for UCSB, a position she took over before the 2013 season.

• Seeing Double
A quartet of UCSB players have recorded double-doubles this season, led by six from Lindsey Ruddins. Other Gauchos to join the double-double club include sophomore outside hitter Chloe Allen (four), and junior setters Annie Hasselmann and Lexi Rottman (one apiece). 

• Ruddins Is Killing It
A year after breaking out with an attention-grabbing freshman season, UCSB outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins is continuing her strong play in 2017. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native ranks second in the country and first in the Big West with a 5.48 kills per set average, just 0.26 behind the national leader. Emphasizing her importance to the squad, she's also second in the NCAA with a 14.29 swings per set average. The reigning Big West Freshman of the Year has led the Gauchos in kills in 14 of the 15 matches she's appeared in, and usually by a wide margin (an average of 10.8 kills more than the next-highest Gaucho over the last 14 matches). Earlier this season, she set a UCSB rally scoring era record with 36 kills against No. 15 Florida State, narrowly missing out on the program's all-time mark (38) set by Roberta Gehlke in 1999. Those 36 kills are also the most by any NCAA player in a single match this season. She has been a Big West Player of the Week nominee five times over the first eight of the campaign and UCSB is hitting over 100 points higher with her in the lineup (.197) than without (.096).

• Petrachi is Digging 2017
One of the top liberos on the west coast, Emilia Petrachi has continued to pad her already-strong resume with an extremely productive 2017 campaign. The Modena, Italy native is second in the Big West with a 4.94 digs per set average, up from her career mark of 4.71. She has stepped up her game even more in Big West action, notching a 6.10 digs per set average which is nearly a full dig more than the No. 2 player in the conference (UC Davis's Malia Bolko, 5.21 per set). Earlier in league play, Petrachi had 28 digs in just three sets against Cal State Fullerton, which the highest of any Big West player in a three-set match this season, a personal career-high for a three-setter, and just two off her overall career high of 30 (Aug. 29, 2015 vs. Pepperdine), which took her four sets to amass. Petrachi has reached double-digit digs in every match this season and has gone over 20 seven times this year and 25 times in her career. 

• Holding Them Down
Thanks to improved serving (1.70 aces per game in league play, third in Big West) and consistently strong play from back row players like Petrachi, UCSB has limited opponents to a .213 hitting percentage in conference action, good for fourth-best in the league. 

• Frosh Phenoms
UCSB has started as many as four freshmen in a match this season, and each of those first-year players has acquitted themselves well at various points this season. Middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe was named the league's Freshman of the Week after the first weekend of conference play, and she ranks third in the Big West in blocking (1.20 per set) in league matches. Fellow middle Kjia Rivers has averaged over 0.61 blocks per set, and was a standout at the Thunderdome Classic (20 kills, 12 blocks). Defensive specialist Kobie Jimenez has recorded double-digit digs in three contests and has been in the starting lineup for 10 matches, and middle blocker Amanda Serex is hitting .207 and started seven straight matches over the month of September.