Gauchos Face Tough Test in Hawai'i, CSUN

Gauchos Face Tough Test in Hawai'i, CSUN

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• The Schedule

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-12, 6-4) vs. No. 9 Hawai'i (19-2, 12-0)
at the Stan Sherriff Center in Manoa, Hawai'i
Series record vs. the Rainbow Wahine – 5-28
Streak vs Hawai'i – Lost 7
UCSB streak overall – Won 2
Hawai'i streak overall – Won 12
2012 Series – Hawai'i 1-0
Last time out vs. the Rainbow Wahine – L, 3-0 (10/6/12)

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-12, 6-4) vs. Cal St. Northridge (16-8, 7-5)
at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.
Series record vs. the Matadors – 30-5
Streak vs CSUN – Won 9
UCSB streak overall – Won 2
CSUN streak overall – Lost 1
2012 Series – UCSB 1-0
Last time out vs. the Matadors – W, 3-0 (10/5/12)

• The Week In Review
The Gauchos played just one match last week, defeating the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs in four games. Kara Sherrard got hot early, recording seven kills in the first game and getting the Gauchos out to a big lead. When she slowed down, Leah Sully picked up the pace, recording 17 kills over the final three games. Katey Thompson had a strong all-around match with 12 kills and 14 digs. All three hitters recorded double-doubles. Taylor Formico anchored the UCSB defense with 31 digs. The win catapulted the Gauchos into second place in the crowded Big West standings with a 6-4 record.

• "Taylor-Made Libero"
Just a freshman, Taylor Formico is already making a case to be one of the top liberos in the country. Taylor ranks third in the nation in total digs (592) and sixth in dig average. Both of those figures top the Big West. Currently No. 4 on the UCSB single-season dig list, she needs just 60 more over UCSB's final eight matches to overtake the top spot. Formico has nine 30+ dig performances this season, by far the most in the country. She recently recorded a career-high and UCSB record 41 digs vs. Cal State Fullerton. Also a strong server, Taylor averages the third most aces (0.33 per game) in Big West play.

• Gauchos Are Digging the Big West Conference
Thanks to Taylor Formico (No. 1 dig average) and Leah Sully (No. 9 dig average), the Gauchos have the top team dig average in the conference at 18.40 per game. That figure also ranks sixth nationally.  UCSB also ranks third in the conference in kills (13.74 per game) and second in assists (12.95 per game) and aces (1.18 per game) in Big West Conference matches.

• Last Time Out Against Hawai'i
On Oct. 6, the Rainbow Wahine made quick work of the Gauchos in the Thunderdome, sweeping 3-0. Emily Hartong dissected the Gauchos defense, picking up 16 kills on a .341 hitting percentage – including a .700 clip in the first game – on her way to a Big West Player of the Week award. Hawai'i dominated UCSB from the start, as the Gauchos only won one point while serving in the first game. Overall, the team registered season lows  in aces (1) and blocks (4). The Gauchos also posted anemic totals in kills (34) and team hitting percentage (.058).

• Last Time Out Against CSUN
On Oct. 5, the Gauchos erupted in a three-game sweep of Northridge in the Thunderdome. Taylor Formico set the UCSB freshman dig record in that match with her 414th dig of the season. UCSB controlled the majority of the match, but CSUN did jump out to a lead late in the second game. A furious comeback, led by Leah Sully (18 killls, two aces) and Kara Sherrard (7 kills, .375 hitting percentage), wrested any momentum away from the visiting Matadors. Britton Taylor had one of her stronger performances, picking up 10 kills on a .400 hitting percentage.

• Sully Gets It Done All Over the Court
Outside hitter Leah Sully has been getting it done in all areas of the court this season. Sully has the second most kills in the Big West (388), easily tops amongst the Gauchos. Sully leads the team in service aces with 23.  An excellent back row player, Leah is tied for the fewest receiving errors (20) of the primary UCSB serve receivers despite having handled the most serves (648).

• Double-Double Machine
Leah Sully has displayed strong all-around play the entire season, consistently ranking among the top 10 in the conference in kills and digs. Leah has recorded eight straight double-doubles and 19 overall. Other Gauchos with double-doubles: Ali Santi (12), Katey Thompson (8), Jaylen Villanueva (5), and Kara Sherrard (4).

• New Blood
This year's Gauchos roster features seven freshmen, which is tied with UC Riverside for the most first-year players among Big West teams.