Gauchos Set to Host 2018 Thunderdome Classic this Weekend

Photo by JC Corliss
Photo by JC Corliss
• The Schedule
Friday, September 7, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Texas Tech
at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. 
All-time record vs. Red Raiders: 4-0
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 0-0
Streak vs. TTU: Won 4
Last meeting: W, 3-0 (9/4/04 @ San Diego)
Live Stats | Video
Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Sacred Heart
at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. 
All-time record vs. Pioneers: 0-0
Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Seton Hall
at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. Pirates: 0-0
• A Hard-Fought Denver Classic
UC Santa Barbara (3-3) went 1-2 at the Denver Classic last weekend, falling to Denver 3-2 on Friday following a remarkable fifth set that went 25-23 in favor of the Pioneers.  Lindsey Ruddins finished with a season-high 27 kills for the second time this season, while Charlie Robinson added a personal-best 14 kills. On Saturday, the Gauchos dropped three very close sets to Sacramento State before topping McNeese State, 3-1. A season-high four Gauchos reached double-figure kills in the win, led by Ruddins' 18, while Emilia Petrachi and Torre Glasker held it down defensively with career-highs of 30 and 20 digs, respectively.
• The Thunderdome Classic (pres. by Paradise Cafe)
The Gauchos return to Santa Barbara this week for their first home matches of the season as hosts of the 2018 Thunderdome Classic, presented by Paradise Cafe. They open things up on Friday, Sept. 7 at 6:00 p.m. against a Texas Tech team out to a 6-2 start. The following day, UCSB takes on Sacred Heart (4-1) at noon and Seton Hall (3-3) at 7:00 p.m. in the final match of the weekend. The Gauchos are a combined 4-0 all-time against this week's competition, with all wins coming against Texas Tech. The most recent win over the Red Raiders was 3-0 on Sept. 4, 2004.
• Back At It Again
One week after being named Tournament MVP at the Miami Invitational, outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins – UCSB's all-time leader in kill average (4.73 K/S) – claimed her first Big West Player of the Week award of the season for her efforts at the Denver Classic. It was the fifth Big West PoW of her career, breaking a four-way tie for the program record with former Gauchos Roberta Gehlke (1996-99), Janine Sandell (2003-05) and Rebecca Saraceno (2006-09), who all had four. Ruddins was on fire from the get-go in Denver, averaging 5.00 kills per set on the way to 60 kills and a .227 hitting percentage. She also had 35 digs (2.92 D/S) and nine blocks (0.75 B/S), racking up two double-doubles for the second straight week. Two of the Laguna Niguel, Calif. native's eight career 27-kill outings have come this season. Her 4.80 kills per set currently rank second in the Big West.
• Fantastic Freshman
Few would expect any freshman to produce at the level setter Olivia Lovenberg has through her first six career matches, but the numbers speak for themselves. The former Canyon Crest Academy star leads the conference in assists per set (10.88 A/S) and total assists (272), the latter also placing her at 16th in the nation. Lovenberg was named the Big West Freshman of the Week for the second straight week to open the season, posting at least 40 assists and eight digs in all three matches. She went for season-highs of 55 assists (11.00 A/S), four kills and three blocks at Denver, and had 54 more helpers (13.50 A/S) in the win over McNeese State. Entering the week, Lovenberg had three 50+ assist efforts through six matches this year – the rest of the Big West has two.
• Brooms Out!
Following the Denver Classic, UCSB's trio of Lindsey Ruddins (Offensive PoW), Emilia Petrachi (Defensive PoW) and Olivia Lovenberg (Freshman of the Week) claimed all three of the Big West weekly awards. It marked the second straight September that the Gauchos garnered a conference award sweep, with Ruddins, Petrachi and Nicole Omwanghe accomplishing the feat back on Sept. 25, 2017. UCSB has won four of the first six PoW awards so far this season.
• Digs For Days
Senior libero Emilia Petrachi was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for the sixth time in her career, one shy of the conference record. The Modena, Italy native had at least 20 digs in all three matches in Denver, including a career-high 30 (7.50 D/S) in the win over McNeese State. She posted at least 4.00 digs per set in each contest, averaging 5.83 overall. She currently ranks second in the Big West at 5.00 digs per game and needs just 196 more to surpass Leah Sully (2009-13) for the program record.
• Efficient Ennis
Junior middle blocker Rowan Ennis was limited to just eight matches in 2017 due to injury, but the rust factor hasn't appeared to be an issue in her first six outings back. The former All-Big West Freshman Teamer leads the conference with a .383 hitting percentage, averaging 2.05 kills per game. She is also second on the team in blocks (0.67 B/S). Ennis was one of three Gauchos named to the Miami Invitational All-Tournament Team during the opening weekend of the season.
• Stat-Sheet Stuffer
Torre Glasker has been lauded for making a positive impact on the team – both in practice and off the court – since transferring from Utah in the offseason. The junior outside hitter has been able to demonstrate her effectiveness in the form of box score stat-stuffing thus far, leading the team in service aces (0.44 SA/S) and tying Ruddins and Lovenberg for the team-lead with four double-doubles. After a career-best 20-scoop outing against McNeese State, Glasker improved to 3.48 digs per set this season, good for 10th in the conference and fourth among non-libero/defensive specialists. Petrachi has enjoyed a monopoly with 34 of UCSB's last 36 20-dig performances, but Glasker joins Jaylen Villanueva (23 digs vs. UC Riverside on Oct. 16, 2015) as the only other Gauchos to reach the 20-dig mark since 2015.
• Cardiac 'Chos
UCSB has gone to five sets in three of its six matches this season, already equaling its total from last year. Santa Barbara is 1-2 in five-set matches in 2018 and 10-17 all-time under head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. When the Gauchos faced Denver back on Aug. 31, the Pioneers pulled out one of the longest fifth sets in Gaucho history, 25-23, following a furious finish that included 17 ties and six lead changes. Prior to that, a fifth set had been won with more than 15 points only three times during the Lantagne Welch era, each time ending 16-14.
• We Want More of Set 4
The Gauchos have played in 25 sets this year, going 13-12 overall. They have been at their best in the fourth set of matches, boasting a perfect 4-0 mark and outscoring opponents 100-69.
• Block Party
Four different Gauchos sit in the conference's top-10 for solo blocks so far, giving them a Big West-leading 12 this season. Ruddins (5) leads the conference in that category.
• Road Awakening
UCSB's win at Miami on Aug. 25 was the Gauchos' first win in a true road season-opener since Aug. 25, 2012, when they defeated LMU 3-0 at the Loyola Marymount Tournament.
• Gauchos Win Miami Invitational
UC Santa Barbara's year opened with a bang. Led by Miami Invitational MVP Lindsey Ruddins, the Gauchos finished with a 2-1 record on the way to being crowned tournament champs. Following a tightly-contested 3-2 defeat to Cincinnati in its season-opener, UCSB answered back with a 3-2 win over Miami and a 3-0 sweep of Saint Louis. Ruddins (4.62 K/S), Emilia Petrachi (4.23 D/S) and Rowan Ennis (2.15 K/S) were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
• Preseason Poll
The Gauchos were predicted to finish fifth in this year's Big West Preseason Coaches Poll, the same spot they finished in at the end of the 2017 conference season.
• Lantagne Welch Earns Career Win Number 300
UCSB's 3-0 victory over UC Riverside on Sept. 22, 2017 gave head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch the 300th win of her esteemed career. She began her 18th season overall as a head coach (12 years at Miami) this year as the winningest active coach in the Big West (306 career wins).