Courtesy: UC Santa Barbara Athletics
Friday, October 27, 2018 at 10:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (13-9, 5-5) at Hawaii (13-6, 9-1)
at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, O’ahu
All-time record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 6-39
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 1-10
Streak vs. UH: Lost 10
Last meeting: L, 3-2 (10/6/18 @ UCSB)
Live Stats | Video
Gauchos Split Pair of Five-Set Thrillers
UC Santa Barbara (13-9, 5-5) moved to 3-2 in conference road matches this past weekend, downing CSUN 20-18 in a frantic fifth set just one night after falling to Long Beach State in five. Lindsey Ruddins went for 55 kills (5.50 K/S) over the two matches, including 31 in the match against the 49ers, en route to her fourth Big West Player of the Week award of 2018. Defensively, Emilia Petrachi was sharp once again, leading all players in digs in both matches and racking up 49 (4.90 D/S) scoops total.
Look Out Below!
One year after becoming the first Gaucho to lead the country in kill average, outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins looks primed to finish second in the nation as a redshirt junior, currently averaging 5.43 kills per set. Within the conference, she is third in aces (33), 12th in digs (241) and 16th in hitting percentage (.266). After posting 55 kills (5.50 K/S) this past week, she earned her fourth Big West Player of the Week award of the year and the eighth of her career, placing her in a three-way tie for the fifth-most in Big West history. No player in program history has had more than four in their career. She also vaulted into No. 8 on the UCSB all-time kill charts, now sitting at 1,416 kills for her career.
Petrachi Breaks All-Time Digs Record
As she has for much of her career, libero Emilia Petrachi has been a consistent defensive force for the Gauchos all season, leading the Big West in both digs (221) and digs per set (5.39) during conference play. With her eighth dig against CSUN on Oct. 2, Petrachi surpassed Leah Sully for the program’s all-time digs record. Playing in her 106th consecutive match this past week, Petrachi’s 22 digs put her at 1,840 for her career, good for No. 5 all-time in Big West history. She has led her team in digs in all but three matches this year, in an astounding 90 times in her career (84.9% of total matches), and has had double-figure digs on 94 occasions. The Modena, Italy native owns the conference record for Big West Defensive Player of the Week awards (8), having taken home three in her senior year.
Rainbow Wahine Rematch
Since knocking off then-No. 5 in a historic upset back on Oct. 12, 2013 – the first time Nicole Lantagne Welch faced Hawaii as head coach of the Gauchos – UCSB has been unable to duplicate that success against the Rainbow Wahine. The Gauchos came close in their home meeting with UH back on Oct. 5 of this year, nearly claiming the win in a scrappy, defensive stalemate before falling 15-10 in the decisive fifth set. It was the first time the Gauchos took the Rainbow Wahine to five sets since 2014. Both teams had over 30 attacking errors en route to then-season-lows in hitting percentage (.138 for Hawaii, .081 for UCSB). The libero battle saw Petrachi lead all players with 29 of UCSB’s 80 digs, while Reyn Akiu nabbed 26 of UH’s 89 digs. The Rainbow Wahine enter Saturday’s match in Honolulu at 13-6 overall and 9-1 in conference, boasting a 4-0 home mark during Big West play.
Middle Blocker Mania
Santa Barbara’s leading middle blockers are enjoying career seasons in their third year with the team. Charlie Robinson is averaging personal-best of 1.92 kills per set on a .310 hitting percentage, the latter of which ranks seventh in the conference. She had the most prolific scoring night of her career, shattering her previous-best with 22 kills (.526) to go along with five blocks against UC Davis on Sept. 29. The only other middle blockers to come close to that mark during the Lantagne Welch era (since 2013) are Phoebe Grunt and Rowan Ennis, both of whom recorded one 17-kill outing apiece during the 2016 season. Speaking of Ennis, she currently ranks in the top-10 for both hitting percentage (.288) and blocks per set (0.80), also averaging a career-best 2.01 kills per set. She has reached double-digit kills in three of her last four outings, including setting a season-high with 14 against LBSU.
Setter Olivia Lovenberg has been outstanding for the Gauchos in her freshman season, ranking 18th in the nation in assists per set (11.18) and 23rd in total assists (917). Since bursting onto the scene with back-to-back Big West Freshman of the Week awards to open her career, Lovenberg has recorded three of the top-four assist performances in the Big West this year, setting a conference-wide-high with 62 assists (12.4 A/S) against UC Davis on Sept. 29. She is currently on pace to become just the second Gaucho to cross the 1,000 assist mark during the Lantagne Welch era.
Defense, Defense, Defense!
UCSB’s defense has shined thus far during Big West play, as the Gauchos have racked up 716 digs and 17.46 D/S, both conference-leading marks. Five different Gauchos currently rank in the conference’s top-15 in digs. They are: Emilia Petrachi (1st, 221), Lindsey Ruddins (9th, 113), Zoe Fleck (12th, 99), Torre Glasker (13th, 97) and Olivia Lovenberg (17th, 82). As a team, Santa Barbara had zero 80-dig performances through its first 15 contests of 2018, but it has hit that mark three times over its last seven outings. UCSB’s 102 digs against UC Davis on Sept. 29 were the most of the Lantagne Welch era and just two shy of reaching the program’s all-time top-10.
On The Money
After having just two Gauchos averaging at least 1.70 K/S last year, UCSB has upped it to five players in 2018. Backing up Ruddins’ offensive dominance are Torre Glasker (2.38 K/S), Rowan Ennis (2.01), Charlie Robinson (1.92) and Gigi Ruddins (1.79). As a result, the Gauchos pace the conference in kills (1,168) and are second in hitting percentage (.235). Over 28 matches last year, excluding Ruddins, there were 17 double-digit kill efforts. This year, there have been 25 through 22 contests.
The Gauchos have claimed one-third of the Big West’s weekly accolades this year, taking nine out of 27. Ruddins (BW Player of the Week) has led the way with four, while Petrachi (Defensive PoW) has earned three and Lovenberg (Freshman PoW) has two.
Santa Barbara’s serving has been one of its most prolific weapons this year, currently leading the Big West at 1.62 aces per set overall. That can be attributed to the fact that three Gauchos currently make up the conference’s top-6 for individual aces. Lindsey Ruddins ranks third with 33 (0.38 SA/S). Lexi Rottman sits 5th with 25 (0.32 SA/S), and Torre Glasker comes in at No. 6 with 24 (0.30 SA/S). In the Gauchos’ win over Montana on Sept. 14, Rottman finished with the most aces per set (2.33 SA/S) in the Big West this season. It was both the second-highest aces per set average and the second-most total aces for a single match in UCSB’s rally scoring history.
UCSB began the year 10-5 overall, tied for its best start to a campaign since 2009. That marked the second time in three years that the Gauchos had 10 wins through their first 15 matches.
UCSB on ESPN3
The Gauchos will play their only ESPN3 matchup during conference play when they travel to face UC Irvine on Nov. 8 at 7:00 p.m.