UCSB Looks to Sustain Momentum on the Road at CSUN, Long Beach State

UCSB Looks to Sustain Momentum on the Road at CSUN, Long Beach State

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Big West TV

• The Schedule 
Friday, September 29, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs. CSUN (8-6, 2-0)
at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.
Stream: Big West TV
All-time record vs. Matadors: 35-9
Streak vs. CSUN: Won 2
2016: UCSB went 2-0 against CSUN
Last meeting: W, 3-1 (10/22/16)

Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Long Beach State (4-11, 1-1)
at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
Stream: ESPN3/WatchESPN/Big West TV
All-time record vs. 49ers: 36-69
2016 series: UCSB went 0-2 against LBSU
Streak vs. LBSU: Lost 11
Last meeting: L, 3-2 (10/21/16)

• Gauchos on the Air
UCSB will make its first appearance on ESPN3 this Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. However, every Big West match this season home and away will be streamed live through Big West TV. Links to all broadcasts can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page on UCSBGauchos.com.

• The Week in Review
UCSB ran its winning streak to three matches last week after taking down UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton in the first weekend of Big West play. On Friday night, the Gauchos out-blocked the Highlanders 10-6 while receiving a 24-kill, 14-dig double-double from Lindsey Ruddins in the sweep. Then on Saturday against the Titans, Lexi Rottman (four aces) led a dominant serving effort by UCSB which helped limit CSF to a lowly .061 hitting percentage. Also key was strong back row play anchored by junior libero Emilia Petrachi. Ruddins and freshman middle Nicole Omwanghe led an offense that hit over .300 for the second time in three matches. 

 • Gaucho Trio Sweeps Big West Weekly Awards
After dominating in their respective areas of the court, the UCSB trio of outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins, libero Emilia Petrachi, and middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe all earned weekly awards from the conference office. Ruddins was dubbed the Big West Player of the Week award after averaging 7.67 kills per game over the weekend. She also registered a season-high .450 hitting percentage against CSF. It was her first career Player of the Week honor after being named Freshman of the Week five times in 2016. Petrachi was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week after notching 47 digs in just six sets, an average of 7.83 per game. The steady defensive specialist out of Modena, Italy, has now earned four defensive weekly honors in her career. Last but not least, Omwanghe took home her first-ever Freshman of the Week award after a solid all-around performance, hitting .556 out of the middle while racking up 1.83 blocks per set.  

• Lantagne Welch Lands Milestone Win Vs. UCR
UCSB's 3-0 victory over UC Riverside on Friday gave head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch the 300th win of her esteemed career. In her 17th season overall as a head coach (12 years at Miami), she is the winningest active coach in the Big West. 58 of Lantagne Welch's 301 career victories have come as the bench boss for UCSB, a position she took over before the 2013 season.

• On A Roll
UCSB had played its best volleyball of the season over the last two weeks, leading to a season-high three-match winning streak. After hitting over .200 just three times in the team's first 11 contests, the Gauchos have now hit over .300 twice in the last three matches including a season-high .330 clip against Eastern Kentucky. The Gauchos are rounding into form nicely in all facets, outproducing their opponent in kills, blocks, and hitting percentage in three straight matches and besting them in service aces in four straight. 

• Ruddins Is Killing It
A year after breaking out with an attention-grabbing freshman season, UCSB outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins is continuing her strong play in 2017. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native ranks second in the nation and first in the Big West with a 5.63 kills per set average. Emphasizing her importance to the squad, she also leads the NCAA with a 14.24 swings per set average. Ruddins has led the Gauchos in kills in nine of the 10 matches she's appeared in, and usually by a wide margin (an average of 11.6 kills more than the next-highest Gaucho over the last nine matches). Earlier this season, she set a UCSB rally scoring era record with 36 kills against No. 15 Florida State, narrowly missing out on the program's all-time mark (38) set by Roberta Gehlke in 1999. She has been a Big West Player of the Week nominee four times over the first five weeks of the campaign and UCSB is hitting over 100 points higher with her in the lineup (.202) than without (.096).

• Omwanghe Stepping Up
UCSB's recent turnaround has coincided almost exactly with a sharp uptick in production from freshman middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe, who has been a Freshman of the Week candidate each of the past two weeks. The Claremont, Calif. native has recorded at least eight kills and hit over .400 in each of her past four outings, including a career-high 13 kills against Cleveland State and back-to-back over-.500 clips to start Big West play. After one weekend of Big West action, she is the league leader in both blocking (1.83 per set) and hitting percentage (.556). 

• Petrachi is Digging 2017
One of the top liberos on the west coast, Emilia Petrachi added to an already-strong 2017 campaign with perhaps her two best performances of the season last week. After needing just three sets to grab 19 digs against UC Riverside, she topped herself the next night with an astounding 28 digs against CSF. That dig total is the highest of any Big West player in a three-set match this season, a personal career-high for a three-setter, and just two off her overall career high of 30 (Aug. 29, 2015 vs. Pepperdine) which took her four sets to amass. She now leads the entire Big West with a 5.02 digs per set average (up from her career average of 4.6), the only player in the league to average over 5.00 per frame. 

 • Hasselmann Gelling With Her Hitters
Hasselmann, UCSB's junior starting setter, has developed some nice chemistry with her cast of hitters over the last few weeks after starting the season in a platoon. She's led the Gauchos to a .240 team hitting percentage over the last six matches, a marked improvement over the squad's .106 clip over the first four matches of the year. Though she ranks sixth in the league in assists (8.65 per set), her average is deflated by four matches in which she didn't start or split time. She is averaging 9.65 assists per set as the established starter.