Gaucho Trio Earns All-Conference Status, Ruddins Lands First Team Honor

Gaucho Trio Earns All-Conference Status, Ruddins Lands First Team Honor

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A trio of players from the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team were named to the 2017 Big West All-Conference Team, as announced by the league on Monday morning. 

Headlining that list was redshirt sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins, who picked up her second consecutive First Team honor after being named the Big West Freshman of the Year in 2016. Junior libero Emilia Petrachi received an honorable mention, marking her second career inclusion on the All-Big West team, while middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe was named to the All-Freshman team.

Despite entering the year at less than 100-percent health, Ruddins went on to log one of the most productive seasons in program history. The Laguna Niguel, Calif. native ended the regular season with an NCAA-leading 5.84 kills per set average, leading all other league players by more than a full kill. Should she remain at the perch of the kills list, she will become the first Gaucho ever to lead the nation in kills per set for an entire season. Not just a prolific offensive weapon, she also managed a team-high 12 double-doubles while ranking ninth in the league in serving (0.28 aces per set). 

Ruddins upped her game in conference play, notching 6.30 kills per set against Big West opponents. That includes a stretch where she notched 20 or more kills in 10 straight contests, a rally scoring program record.

One of the most consistent players on the Lantagne Welch era, Petrachi received her second career All-Big West nod after averaging a league-high 4.95 digs per set. She was even better against league foes, averaging 5.26 scoops per set. She totaled more than 20 scoops in 12 separate matches, including 28 in just three sets against Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 23, the most by any Big West player in a three-setter in 2017. The Modena, Italy native was also a two-time Big West Defensive Player of the Week selection. With five career weekly defensive honors, she is just one behind the league's all-time record.

Omwanghe burst onto the scene as a true freshman, flashing a solid all-around game for UCSB. The Claremont, Calif. native averaged 1.60 kills on .237 hitting with 0.93 blocks per set, but raised those numbers once the Big West schedule came around (1.79, .255, 1.03). She led all league freshmen in blocks and was twice honored as the Big West Freshman of the Week.