Women's Volleyball 2018 Season Preview Pt. IV: Pin Hitters

Lindsey Ruddins (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Lindsey Ruddins (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team opens its 2018 campaign against Cincinnati this Friday at 12:00 p.m. in the first of three matches at the Miami Invitational in Oxford, Ohio. Today, we conclude our break down of the team's four position units, taking a look at the pin hitters.

Part IV: Pin Hitters

"The pin attackers (outsides and right sides) is the area we have added the most to since last year. We definitely have more people that can score in the gym to help take the load off of Lindsey. We have a good mix of power and strength along with those that can really handle the ball." – Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch

Lindsey Ruddins – Redshirt Junior
Was there anyone in collegiate volleyball more valuable to their team last season than Lindsey Ruddins was to the Gauchos? It's debatable, but after becoming the first Gaucho ever to lead the nation with an incredible 5.84 kills per set, the Laguna Niguel, Calif. native made a very strong case, without a doubt.

Despite the fact that she has yet to be healthy throughout a full season (she's missed 27 matches over three years), Ruddins enters her redshirt junior year boasting enough accolades to already go down as one of the most decorated players in program history: Big West Freshman of the Year in 2016; two-time Team MVP, All-Big West First Team, and All-Pacific South Region selection; and one of just five Gauchos in program history to earn All-America status multiple times, being named an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention each of the last two years.

Not a one-dimensional player by any means, the former Aliso Niguel High School star also racked up 255 digs in 2017, good for second on the team, and a team-high 12 solo blocks. Although she's able to do a multitude of things well, her greatest strengths shine through on offense. With two years of eligibility remaining, she has already set the program's single-match rally scoring records for kills (36 vs. Florida State on Aug. 26, 2017) and service aces (8 at UC Irvine on Nov. 5, 2016), while her 4.72 career kills per game average slightly edges Roberta Gehlke (4.67, 1996-99) for the all-time high.

"Lindsey has certainly proven that she can score at will. The scary thing for her opponents is that she is continuing to improve. She does every skill well, and she can take over a set or a match." – Lantagne Welch

Torre Glasker – Junior
Since joining the Gauchos as a transfer from Utah earlier this year, Torre Glasker (South Jordan, Utah, Bingham HS) has garnered praise from the UCSB coaching staff for her ability to bring so many different things to the table. She is the most seasoned player on the team in terms of postseason experience, having made two trips to the NCAA Tournament as a member of the Utes.

A former top recruit out of her home state of Utah, Glasker appeared in 25 matches with seven starts as a freshman, totaling 38 kills and 105 digs in 67 sets. After switching to libero this past year, she averaged 1.10 digs per set over 19 matches.

"Torre has brought so much into our program since she joined us in April. She has an infectious personality that makes you want to play with her, and a great all-around game. Her volleyball IQ is very high and she uses that and her dynamic athleticism to make things happen on the court." – Lantagne Welch

Chloe Allen – Junior
A steady contributor at outside hitter, Chloe Allen (Santa Barbara, Calif., San Marcos HS) is second only to Ruddins in the kill department over the past two seasons. Her average of 1.97 kills per set as a freshman jumped to 2.20 as a sophomore, with a standout performance against Florida State seeing her post career-highs of 24 kills and 15 digs.

After being named the team's Most Improved Player in 2016, Allen was hampered by injuries last season, missing eight matches. Despite that, she finished the year as one of just two Gauchos with more than 135 digs and 20 blocks.

"Chloe can hit the ball with a lot of velocity and is someone that can be relied upon in serve receive as well. She had a strong spring season and has the flexibility to play for us on the left or the right side." – Lantagne Welch

Tallulah Froley – Freshman
A right-side specialist out of the Bay Area, Tallulah Froley was an all-league recipient all four years at San Francisco Waldorf School and was named league MVP in 2016 and 2017. Froley was a dominant pin for Waldorf, leading her team to a pair of CIF Division 6 Championships. Thanks in part to her offensive contributions, the Wolverines did not lose a single league match during her entire career.

"Tallulah brings a physical presence, and both attacking and blocking to our front line. I love that she can hit higher balls and also be very effective on faster paced sets. She has the desire to take her game to a higher level." – Lantagne Welch

Gigi Ruddins – Freshman
A left-side hitter from Laguna Niguel, Calif. and younger sister of Lindsey Ruddins, Giselle Ruddins joined the Gauchos after a standout prep career at Aliso Niguel High School. After getting called up to the varsity squad to help the team to a CIF Division 1A Championship as a freshman in 2014, Ruddins went on to establish herself as a key part of the Wolverines' offense, as she was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year in both 2016 and 2017 while taking home Team MVP honors as a senior. As a junior, she tied a school record with 34 kills in a match against Dana Hills High School.

"Gigi has a very balanced all-around game. Her ball control and steady play make her a great addition to our program." – Lantagne Welch

Megan Lewis – Freshman
Outside hitter Megan Lewis joined the Gaucho volleyball program after serving as a top pin at St. Ignatius College Prep, one of the top high school teams in the San Francisco area. The Wildcats won more than 30 matches in Lewis's final two seasons on campus. They were perennial playoff participants, an area where Lewis tended to thrive, evidenced by her 20-kill outing to help St. Ignatius past St. Francis in the 2016 WCAL Semifinals.

"Megan has the flexibility to play multiple positions for us and has the ability to attack a lot of different areas on the court." – Lantagne Welch

The Gauchos play their first home matches of the new season on Sept. 7 and 8 as part of the Thunderdome Classic. Season tickets for the 2018 season are now available and can be purchased by calling 805-893-UCSB or by clicking here.

Season Preview Pt. I: Defensive Specialists/Liberos
Season Preview Pt. II: Middle Blockers
Season Preview Pt. III: Setters

Interested in UCSB's other fall sports? 2018 NCAA College Cup and season tickets for soccer are available now! For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.