Gauchos Face Anteaters on ESPN3, Close Out Road Schedule at Davis

Emilia Petrachi (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)
Emilia Petrachi (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)
 
• The Schedule
Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (14-10, 6-6) at UC Irvine (15-10, 9-4)
at Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
All-time record vs. Anteaters: 72-16
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 5-6
Streak vs. UCI: Lost 2
Last meeting: L, 3-1 (9/18/18 @ UCSB)
 
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (14-10, 6-6) at UC Davis (16-9, 8-5)
at The Pavilion in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. Aggies: 21-10
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 5-6
Streak vs. UCD: Lost 2
Last meeting: L, 3-2 (9/29/18 @ UCSB)
 
• Gauchos Fall to Cal Poly in Home Return
Playing at home for the first time in nearly a month last Friday, UC Santa Barbara was defeated by the No. 17 ranked Mustangs. Freshman Megan Lewis tied Lindsey Ruddins for team-high honors with 11 kills. The Gauchos nearly stole set two, as Nicole Omwanghe tallied three of her match-high five blocks (2.67 B/S) during a late 6-1 run to tie things at 23-23, but the Mustangs claimed the final two points en route to a three-set win.
 
• Look Out Below!
One year after becoming the first Gaucho to lead the country in kill average, outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins looks primed to finish second in the nation as a redshirt junior, currently averaging 5.31 kills per set. Her career 4.91 K/S is an all-time Gaucho high, while her 1,438 total kills place her at No. 6 in program history. Within the conference this season, she is third in aces (34), 13th in digs (255) and 17th in hitting percentage (.258). She has been named the Big West Player of the Week four times this year and eight times in her career, currently in a three-way tie for fifth-most in Big West history. No other Gaucho has had more than four in their career.
 
Emilia Petrachi: UCSB's All-Time Digs Leader
Senior libero Emilia Petrachi is on pace to lead the Big West in digs per set for the third straight year with conference-leading marks of 4.85 D/S and 451 total digs. With her eighth dig against CSUN on Oct. 2, Petrachi surpassed Leah Sully for the program's all-time digs record. Playing in her 108th consecutive match this past week, Petrachi's 17 digs (5.67 D/S) put her at 1,873 for her career, just 33 shy of No. 4 all-time in the Big West. She has led her team in digs in all but three matches this year, in an astounding 92 times in her career (85% of total matches), and has had double-figure digs on 96 occasions. The Modena, Italy native owns the conference record for Big West Defensive Player of the Week awards (8), having taken home three in her senior year.
 
• Road Finales
UCSB is set to close out its 2018 road slate with rematches at UC Irvine (Thursday on ESPN3) and UC Davis (Saturday), two teams which defeated the Gauchos on their home floor back in September. 
 
Lindsey Ruddins has had some of her best career performances against UCI, the team which currently ranks second in the Big West in opponent hitting percentage (.187) for the year. UCSB's dynamic outside hitter had a near triple-double in her first ever meeting with the Anteaters on Nov. 5, 2016, tallying 15 kills, nine digs and a UCSB rally scoring era record eight aces in a 3-0 road sweep, coincidentally in front of an ESPN3 audience. In 2017, she posted 32 kills – a mark which remains her Big West career-high – with 11 digs and a .375 hitting percentage in a 3-2 win.
 
Two nights later, the Gauchos travel to UC Davis looking to avenge September's reverse sweep. The Aggies are arguably the hottest team in the Big West right now, currently riding a conference-best seven-match win streak.
 
• UCSB First Big West Team to Sweep UH in Hawaii
With perhaps their most memorable upset since the last time they won at UH back in 2013, the Gauchos became the first Big West team to sweep the Rainbow Wahine at Stan Sheriff Center since they joined the conference in 2012, handing them just their second conference loss of 2018 on Oct. 27. For the second straight meeting this season, UCSB held Hawaii to a season-low in hitting percentage (.118).
 
• Fantastic Freshman
Setter Olivia Lovenberg has been outstanding for the Gauchos in her freshman season, ranking 27th in the nation in assists per set (11.13) and 37th in total assists (1,030). Since bursting onto the scene with back-to-back Big West Freshman of the Week awards to open her career, Lovenberg has had three of the top-four assist performances in the Big West this year, setting a conference-wide-high with 62 assists (12.4 A/S) against UC Davis on Sept. 29. With 1,030 assists this year, she is just the second Gaucho to reach the 1,000 assist-mark during the Lantagne Welch era.
 
• Block Party
Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe led the Gauchos in blocks last season (83), leading to an All-Big West Freshman Team selection. After registering 14 blocks over her first 13 appearances this season, she has had at least five in each of her last three outings, totaling 19 (1.73 B/S) over that stretch. It's the most blocks of any Gaucho over a three-match span this year, moving her into a tie with teammate Rowan Ennis for 10th in the Big West in blocks (0.80 B/S).
 
• Defense, Defense, Defense!
UCSB's defense has shined thus far during Big West play, as the Gauchos have racked up a conference-best 17.45 digs per set. Four different Gauchos currently rank in the conference's top-20 in digs. They are: Emilia Petrachi (1st, 254), Lindsey Ruddins (13th, 127), Zoe Fleck (17th, 115), and Torre Glasker (18th, 113). 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 during conference play. 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.
 
• On The Money
After having just two Gauchos averaging at least 1.70 K/S last year, UCSB has upped it to six players in 2018. Backing up Ruddins' offensive dominance are Torre Glasker (2.26 K/S), Rowan Ennis (2.01), Gigi Ruddins (2.00), Charlie Robinson (1.87) and Megan Lewis (1.71). As a result, the Gauchos are third in the conference in kill average (13.43 K/S) and second in hitting percentage (.230). Over 28 matches last year, excluding Ruddins, there were 17 double-digit kill efforts. This year, there have been 27 through 24 contests.
 
• Weekly Accolades
The Gauchos have claimed Big West weekly accolades this year. Ruddins (BW Player of the Week) has led the way with four, while Petrachi (Defensive PoW) has earned three and Lovenberg (Freshman PoW) has two.
 
• Serve's Up
Santa Barbara's serving has been one of its most prolific weapons this year, currently leading the Big West at 1.56 aces per set overall. That can be attributed to the fact that three Gauchos currently make up the conference's top-7 for individual aces. Lindsey Ruddins ranks third with 34 (0.37 SA/S). Lexi Rottman sits 5th with 27 (0.32 SA/S), and Torre Glasker comes in at No. 7 with 24 (0.28 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.