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UCSB Embarks on Final Regular Season Road Trip

Grace McIntosh, Briana McKnight, Macall Peed (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Grace McIntosh, Briana McKnight, Macall Peed (Photo by Jeff Liang)

Thursday, November 17
at UC Davis (12-14, 7-9) - 7 PM
University Credit Union Center – Davis, Calif.

Saturday, November 19
at UC Riverside (4-21, 2-14) – 7:30 PM
SRC Arena – Riverside, Calif.

Gauchos on the Air
Both matches will be aired live on ESPN+ and links can be found above and on the schedule page. Live stats will also be available for both matches.

Wilson Makes Gaucho History; Earns Second-Career Big West DPOW
The Big West announced its weekly women's volleyball awards Monday afternoon naming Deni Wilson of UC Santa Barbara to her second career Defensive Player of the Week Award.

This past week Wilson helped the Gauchos to another pair of wins down the stretch and etched her name into Gaucho history moving into 10th all-time with 304 block assists.

Wilson averaged a hefty 2.57 blocks per set while not committing a single hitting error on offense, finishing with 15 kills on 24 swings for a .625 attack rate.

During Friday's sweep over Cal State Fullerton, Wilson contributed eight total blocks, three of them solo efforts, with six kills for 11.5 points. The next night against fourth-place Long Beach State, the Los Angeles product added 10 total blocks (two solo) to match a career best, alongside nine kills for 15.0 points. The 10 denials equal the most by a Big West player in a four-setter in 2022. The Gauchos managed a conference four-set best of 19.0 blocks as a team, a new season high.

Down the Stretch
As The Big West season comes down the stretch, every conference match is incredibly important for the Gauchos. UCSB currently sits in second place with a 14-2 conference record behind Hawai'i which leads at 15-1. Cal Poly (13-4) is close behind in third having beaten the top-ranked Rainbow Wahine, but fell twice to the Gauchos. Long Beach State (11-5) is also in the race as the team has defeated both Cal Poly and UCSB and currently sits in fourth.

The Big West will likely be a one-bid conference for the NCAA Tournament, so winning the regular season title is the only guarantee for entrance.

The Gauchos are the top blocking team in The Big West as they currently pace the conference and rank 7th in the nation with a 2.80 blocks per set average. Much of this success can be attributed to Deni Wilson (1.41 b/s) and Nia Correal (1.10 b/s) who rank first and sixth in the conference, respectively. Wilson's mark is good for 14th in the country.

Slowing the Competition
In addition to leading the conference at the net, the Gauchos' overall defense should also be credited for the team's success. UCSB leads The Big West in opponent kills (11.74 k/s), and opponent aces (0.92 sa/s) and is second in opponent hitting percentage (.176), and opponent assists (10.97 a/s).

Ohwobete Bringing the Heat
The reigning Big West Freshman of the Year, Michelle Ohwobete, is once again proving to be an effective all-around player at the outside hitter position. She currently leads the team and is ninth in conference with a 3.22 kills per set average and is second behind only starting libero Macall Peed with a 2.40 digs per set average. She is also tasked with a bulk of the team's passing duties and does so brilliantly as she only has 14 receiving errors this season on 515 attempts for a .973 percentage. If that weren't enough, Ohwobete is also second on  the team with 35 total aces and is second with a 0.38 per set average that's good for fourth in the conference. 

Froley is Feeling It
Tallulah Froley has been effective and efficient from the right side this year as she currently ranks tenth in The Big West with a .273 hitting percentage and is the only player in the top-10 that isn't a middle blocker. She ranks second on the team with a 2.70 kills per set average, has collected double-digit kills on 12 occasions, and has hit above .300 on 11 occasions.

Peed Plays D
2021 First Team All-Conference selection Macall Peed is once again getting it done on the defensive end for the Gauchos leading the team with a 4.29 digs per set average, which ranks third in The Big West. She has notched double-digit digs on 20 occasions already including a career-high 30 against UC San Diego, which is the fourth-best performance by any player in the conference this season. Peed currently rides a double-digit digs streak of 18 straight games that dates back to non-conference play in September. In situations that call for it, she has also been a reliable setter tallying 1.05 assists per set.

Dishing It Up
You wouldn't know it from her numbers but senior Mehana Ma'a is the leading setter of a 6-2 offense. Despite splitting time with Grace McIntosh and Megan Shimoda, Ma'a ranks ninth in The Big West with a 6.29 assist per set average and has been key in her team's potent offense. UCSB ranks second in conference with a .242 hitting percentage and is fourth with 12.19 assists per set and 13.02 kills per set.

Peed Earns Third-Career Big West DPOW Award
The Big West announced its weekly awards Monday afternoon naming Macall Peed the Defensive Player of the Week. It is the second time she has earned the honor this season and the third time in her career. 

Peed was huge on the defensive end as the Gauchos swept a pair of matches this past weekend averaging 5.00 digs per set. At CSU Bakersfield she led all players with 16 (5.33 d/s) and was a perfect 10-for-10 on serve receptions. She led the match again at Cal Poly scooping up 14 (4.66 d/s). 

She also averaged an ace per set with six total on the weekend, which is double the league leader's average. Peed sparked the Gauchos' comeback at Cal Poly in set two, down 21-24 she delivered the perfect pass that led to a kill, followed that up with back-to-back aces to tie the set, and her serve continued to lead to two defensive team stops to complete the turnaround and give the Gauchos the 2nd set and the momentum the rest of the way. It was the only home loss the Mustangs have suffered this season.

Ma'a Earns 2022 Coaches 4 Coaches Scholarship
The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the recipients of the 2022 Coaches 4 Coaches Scholarships naming Mehana Ma'a from the UCSB women's volleyball team as one of the 14 scholarship winners this season.

The 14 winners will be given a chance to attend an AVCA Convention in Omaha, Nebraska this coming December where they will have the opportunity to network with successful coaches from all levels and take part in a diverse group of educational opportunities as well. The fund will coevr the registration and travel costs for this select group of future, and up-and-coming volleyball coaches to their first ever AVCA Convention.