UCSB Hosts UC Irvine on Friday Night

UCSB Hosts UC Irvine on Friday Night

• The Schedule
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine (9-13, 3-6)
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Series record vs. the Anteaters – 65-9
Streak – Won 5
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – W, 3-0 (10/8/11)
Match broadcast live on BigWest.TV
Live stats available here

• Top 10 Talent
Senior libero Chelsey Lowe moved into 10th place all-time in UCSB history with her 40 digs last weekend. Lowe has accumulated 1,271 digs in her Gaucho career, passing Liz Towne (1985-88) for 10th in career digs.  Next on the list is her predecessor, Leigh Stephenson (2005-08), who had 1,306 digs.  Lowe, a native of  Yorba Linda, Calif., is averaging 5.22 digs per set, which leads the Big West and ranks her 29th in the country. She has had at least 20 digs in 16 of the Gauchos' 24 matches and also leads the Big West in digs during conference play (5.35).

• They Can Dig It
Speaking of digs, as a team UCSB is averaging 17.56 digs per set, which ranks the Gauchos first in the Big West and 22nd nationally in the stat. UCSB also leads the conference in digs per league matches with 18.63. Chelsey Lowe and Leah Sully each rank in the top-10 in the Big West in overall digs, one of just two sets of teammates to do so.

• RPI Report
In the second Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA on Monday, UCSB ranks 59th in the nation and is the second-highest Big West team ranked behind Long Beach State (No. 50). This bodes well for the Gauchos who don't face a conference foe with a conference record over .500 the rest of the season.

Lily Lopez: Leading Lady
Though she no longer leads the conference in hitting percentage, senior middle blocker Lily Lopez still paces the team with her .323 clip, ranking her sixth amongst her conference mates and 112th in the nation. The native of Santa Ana, Calif. has had a terrific stretch – in her last 15 matches she is hitting s hitting .337 (157-39-350) with an average of 10.46 kills per match and 3.46 total blocks per match (nine solo, 43 assisted). In conference matches Lopez is hitting .323, which is fourth in the Big West. On the year she is averaging  with 2.22 kills per set and 0.85 blocks per set.

• About Schmidt
It's rare when a senior as decorated as Stacey Schmidt can reach new heights, but that's exactly what the two-time All-Big West First Team pick did last weekend. Schmidt set a career-high with 24 kills against UC Davis and turned in a pair of double-doubles. The All-American leads the team in kills with 2.92 per set and blocks with 0.95 per set. She it hitting .288, eighth in the Big West, and her 0.29 aces per set are fourth in the conference.

• Double Dipper
In 17 of the Gauchos' 24 matches this season – this coming after she missed all of last year due to a torn ACL – Leah Sully has recorded a double-double, including in 12 of her last 15 matches. On the season the sophomore from Irvine, Calif. is averaging 2.80 kills and 3.71 digs per set – both ranking second on the team. Sully is also third in the conference with her 0.32 ace per set average.

• Killin' Kara
In Big West play, sophomore Kara Sherrard leads UCSB with her 3.12 kills per set, ranking her 10th in the conference in league matches. Sherrard has posted 11 double-doubles this season – including nine in her last 10 matches – and set a new career-best with her 22 digs vs. Pacific. Her 3.41 digs in conference play rank her third on the team and the Lancaster, Calif. native has recorded double-digit kills in 14 matches this season.

• Helping Hands
Freshman setter Hanna Nielson handed out 63 assists in the match vs. UC Davis, already placing her sixth all-time at UCSB in single-match history. Nielson's number actually tied two-time All-American Dana Vargas' career-high. The Saratoga, Calif. native cracked the 1,000-assist plateau already this year (1,024) and over her last 16 matches has six 50-assist efforts. Her 10.45 assists per set are fourth in the conference and 74th in the nation.

• Jenna's Block Party
Sophomore Jenna Wilson ranks fourth in the Big West with her team-high 15 solo blocks and the middle blocker is tied with Stacey Schmidt for the team lead with her 0.95 per set block average. In conference matches, Wilson is averaging 1.05 per set.

• Smoking Aces
As a team the Gauchos are averaging 1.18 service aces per set, which places them second behind Cal State Northridge in the conference.