Gauchos Continue Road Trip at LBSU Friday, CSUN Saturday

Olivia Lovenberg sets for a teammate (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Olivia Lovenberg sets for a teammate (Photo by Jeff Liang)
 
• The Schedule 
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (12-8, 4-4) at Long Beach State (12-9, 4-4)
at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
All-time record vs. 49ers: 38-70
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 2-9
Streak vs. LBSU: Won 2
Last meeting: W, 3-1 (9/28/18 @ UCSB)
 
Saturday, October 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (12-8, 4-4) at Cal State Northridge (6-13, 2-5)
at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.
All-time record vs. Matadors: 37-10
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 7-4
Streak vs. CSUN: Won 2
Last meeting: W, 3-0 (10/2/18 @ UCSB)
 
• Gauchos Fall at No. 12 Cal Poly
UC Santa Barbara (12-8, 4-4) was defeated in straight sets at No. 12 Cal Poly last Friday, 25-14, 25-22, 25-19, as the Mustangs took a .386 to .167 edge in hitting percentage. Lindsey Ruddins led the Gauchos with a match-high 18 kills, and Torre Glasker just missed out on a double-double with nine kills and 12 digs.
 
• Petrachi Breaks All-Time Digs Record
The Gauchos most recently faced CSUN in a 3-0 sweep back on Oct. 2, but that wasn't the only big story that night. With her eighth dig of the match in set two, Emilia Petrachi surpassed Leah Sully for the program's all-time digs record. Playing in her 104th consecutive match this past week, the unshakable libero finished with 12 digs. That gave her 1,791 for her career, good for No. 5 all-time in Big West history. She has now led her team in digs an astounding 88 times in her career (84.6% of total matches) and has had double-figure digs on 92 occasions. Petrachi – who owns three Big West Defensive Player of the Week awards this year – currently leads the conference in digs (369) and sits third in digs per set (4.79). She has been on another level during league play, averaging Big West-leading marks of 5.55 digs per set and 172 digs overall.
 
• Look Out Below!
Outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins has refused to take her foot off the gas pedal this season, currently ranked second in the nation in kills per set (5.42). Within the conference, she is third in aces (30), 12th in digs (219) and 15th in hitting percentage (.268). With 18 kills at Cal Poly last Friday, she increased her career total to 1,361, moving past Katie Crawford (1995-98) for No. 9 all-time at UCSB. Ruddins has three Big West Player of the Week awards this season and is one of just 12 players in conference history to have won the award seven times.
 
• Big West: Round 2
At 4-4 during league play, UCSB gets set to begin the second half of the conference season with its first Big West rematches against Long Beach State (12-9, 4-4) and CSUN (6-13, 2-5). The Gauchos are 2-0 against this weekend's competition in 2018, having beaten the 49ers 3-1 back on Sept. 28 and swept the Matadors 3-0 on Oct. 2. The win over Long Beach was the second straight over the 49ers dating back to last year. Prior to that, LBSU had claimed nine straight victories over the Gauchos since 2013.
 
• Middle Blocker Mania
Both of UCSB's leading middle blockers have had career offensive performances over the past several weeks. Junior Charlie Robinson had the most prolific scoring night of her career, shattering her previous-best with 22 kills (.526) to go along with five blocks against UC Davis on Sept. 29.  The only other middle blockers to come close to that mark during the Lantagne Welch era (since 2013) are Phoebe Grunt and Rowan Ennis, both of whom recorded one 17-kill outing apiece during the 2016 season. Speaking of Ennis, she enjoyed a career-high .625 hitting percentage in the win over CSUN last two weeks ago before tallying a season-high 12 kills against Hawaii. Robinson comes in at 7th in the conference in hitting percentage (.319), while Ennis is currently 10th (.292).
 
• Sweet September
UCSB began the year 10-5 overall, tied for its best start to a campaign since 2009.  That marked the second time in three years that the Gauchos had 10 wins at that point of the season.
 
• Defense, Defense, Defense!
UCSB's defense has shined thus far during Big West play, as the Gauchos have racked up 561 digs and 18.10 D/S, both conference-leading marks. For the season, three different Gauchos rank in the conference's top-15 in digs. They are: Emilia Petrachi (1st, 369), Lindsey Ruddins (12th, 219) and Torre Glasker (13th, 215). As a team, Santa Barbara had zero 80-dig performances through its first 15 contests of 2018, but it has hit that mark three times over its last five outings. UCSB's 102 digs against UC Davis on Sept. 29 were the most of the Lantagne Welch era and just two shy of reaching the program's all-time top-10.
 
• What A Difference A Year Makes
While Lindsey Ruddins' offensive dominance has persisted this year, there have been a few differences. For one, her attempts have gone down slightly from a record-setting 15.18 per set in 2017 to 14.42 this season, while her hitting percentage is currently at a career-best .268. More importantly though is the fact that she has had significantly more help on offense this season compared to last. Over 28 matches last year, excluding Ruddins, there were 17 double-digit kill efforts and just one Gaucho averaging at least 2.00 K/S. Through 20 contests this season, there have been 21 double-digit kill performances and three other Gauchos averaging at least 2.00 K/S. That includes Torre Glasker (2.36 K/S), Gigi Ruddins (2.05) and Charlie Robinson (2.01).
 
• Weekly Accolades
After earning their third weekly honors of 2018 three weeks ago, Lindsey Ruddins (7) and Emilia Petrachi (8) extended their already firm grasp over the program records for Big West Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week. UCSB leads the conference in awards won thus far, claiming 1/3rd (8 out of 24) this season.
 
• Fantastic Freshman
Freshman setter Olivia Lovenberg finished with career-highs of 62 assists (12.4 A/S) and 13 digs against UC Davis on Sept. 29, the former being good for the most of any Big West player in 2018. Her 15.00 A/S (60 asts) in a 3-1 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 7 are also a conference-wide season-high. Since bursting onto the scene with back-to-back Big West Freshman of the Week awards to open her career, Lovenberg has not stopped leading the conference this season in both assists per set (11.14) and total assists (858) by a wide margin. Her assist average currently ranks 24th in the nation. She is on pace to become just the second Gaucho to cross the 1,000 assist mark during the Lantagne Welch era.
 
• Serve's Up
Santa Barbara's serving has been one of the most prolific in the nation this year, currently leading the Big West at 1.64 aces per set overall. That can be attributed to the fact that three Gauchos currently make up the conference's top-6 for individual aces. Lindsey Ruddins ranks third with 30 (0.39 SA/S). Lexi Rottman sits 5th with 23 (0.34 SA/S), and Torre Glasker comes in at No. 6 with 21 (0.30 SA/S). In the Gauchos' win over Montana on Sept. 14, Rottman finished with the most aces per set (2.33 SA/S) in the Big West this season. It was both the second-highest aces per set average and the second-most total aces for a single match in UCSB's rally scoring history. 
 
• UCSB on ESPN3
The Gauchos will play their only ESPN3 matchup during conference play when they travel to face UC Irvine on Nov. 8 at 7:00 p.m.