Gauchos Embark on Final Road Trip of the Year
• The Schedule
Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-16, 6-8) vs. UC Riverside (7-21, 1-13)
at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.
Series record vs. the Highlanders – 27-1
Streak vs UC Riverside – Won 2
UCSB streak overall – Lost 4
UC Riverside streak overall – Lost 1
2012 Series – UCSB 1-0
Last time out vs. the Highlanders – W, 3-1 (10/20/12)
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-26, 6-8) vs. Cal St. Fullerton (14-13, 8-6)
at the Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif.
Series record vs. the Titans – 56-8
Streak vs CSUF – Lost 1
UCSB streak overall – Lost 4
CSUF streak overall – Won 1
2012 Series – CSUF 1-0
Last time out vs. the Titans – L, 3-2 (10/19/12)
• The Week In Review
The Gauchos stretched their losing streak to four matches, following losses to Pacific and UC Davis. It is the second time this season UCSB has lost four straight. Friday night's loss to Pacific was especially heartbreaking, as the Gauchos led the match 2-1 at one point, and forced Pacific to score 21 points to win the fifth set. Leah Sully had 26 kills and 28 digs and was at the service line for a 6-0 run while down 13-8 in the fifth game that temporarily rescued them from the jaws of defeat. Saturday night's loss was the first time UCSB had ever been swept by Davis. Sully had a double-double (16 K, 10 D), but standouts were few and far between for UCSB. Taylor Formico added 55 digs over the weekend.
Last week, freshman libero Taylor Formico recorded her 653rd dig, making her the new single-season record holder for digs in UCSB and Big West Conference history. The record was previously held by UCSB's Chelsey Lowe, who tallied 652 digs in 2011. The Gauchos now have the top four spots in single-season digs in the BWC record book. With four matches to play, Formico has a chance to obliterate the previous record – as she is on pace for 777 digs.
• Sully Coming on Strong
Even though UCSB is currently sporting a four match losing streak, that cannot be pinned on Leah Sully, who has raised her play as of late. In her last three games, Leah has averaged over five kills per game (season average= 3.99/g) and hit atleast .213. Leah's 26 kill, 28 dig performance against Pacific was not far enough from her career highs (27 K, 30 D) and her .281 hitting percentage against Cal State Northridge was her second best of the season. Sully has 11 double-doubles in her last 12 matches and 22 overall.
Just a freshman, Taylor Formico is already making a case to be one of the top liberos in the country. Taylor ranks fifth in the nation in total digs (683) and eighth in dig average. Formico has ten 30+ dig performances this season – no other player has more than seven, and only four have done it six times. She recently recorded a career-high and UCSB record 41 digs vs. Cal State Fullerton. Also a rapidly-improving server, Taylor averages the second most aces (0.34 per game) among all players in Big West conference action.
• Last Time Out Against UC Riverside
The Gauchos made it interesting on Oct. 20 – nearly blowing a 2-0 lead to UC Riverside for the second straight time – but were ultimately able to pull out a 3-1 win. UCSB was led by the three-headed monster of Sully, Thompson, and Formico. Thompson had 15 kills and a match-high seven blocks, while Sully matched Thompson's kill total while chipping in 18 digs. Formico recorded 32 digs and a trio of aces. UCR was held to a .000 hitting percentage in the decisive game.
• Last Time Out Against Cal State Fullerton
On Oct. 19, the Gauchos set a litany of defensive records in a five set loss to the Titans. Taylor Formico's school record 41 digs highlighted a UCSB defensive performance that included a rally-scoring era program record 124 digs. Kara Sherrard had a career-high 26 digs as well, while Sully (22) and Santi (17) also had banner nights. CSUF's Kayla Neto got the best of them all though, pushing the Titans to victory with 35 kills – the most ever allowed by UCSB to an opposing hitter.
• Subpar Service
Over the season, the Gauchos have shown the importance of serving to their overall game. Over their four match losing streak, the Gauchos are averaging 2.5 aces per game, compared with 4.96 aces per game for the rest of the season. This year, UCSB is just 2-9 when being out-aced by the opposition.
• 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.