UCSB Eyes Season Sweeps Hosting CSF, UCR on Senior Night

Lexi Rottman (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)
Lexi Rottman (Photo by Jeilo Gauna)

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• The Schedule
Friday, November 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (15-11, 7-7) vs. Cal State Fullerton (7-21, 0-14)
at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. Titans: 68-8
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 11-0
Streak vs. CSF: Won 12
Last meeting: W, 3-0 (9/22/18 @ CSF)
Live Stats | Video
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara (15-11, 7-7) vs. UC Riverside (9-17, 4-10)
at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. Highlanders: 36-5
Record in Lantagne Welch era: 7-4
Streak vs. UCR: Won 1
Last meeting: W, 3-1 (9/21/18 @ UCR)
Live Stats | Video
• Gauchos Win in Road Finale
UC Santa Barbara split its final two road matches last week, falling at UC Irvine 3-1 before downing UC Davis in four sets two nights later. Emilia Petrachi was hard to beat, tallying 26 and 28 digs over eight sets (6.75 D/S). Lindsey Ruddins went for a match-high 21 kills in the loss to Irvine, and led a balanced Gaucho attack with 23 kills in the win over the Aggies. Rowan Ennis (18 kills) and Gigi Ruddins (14) had career-nights against Davis, as for the first time this season, UCSB had three players with at least 14 kills, and registered over a .240 hitting percentage in every set.
• Potential Season Sweeps on Senior Night Weekend
The Gauchos (15-11, 7-7) close out their final week of the 2018 season with a pair of 7:00 p.m. home matches, aiming to claim season sweeps over Cal State Fullerton (7-21, 0-14) and UC Riverside (9-17, 4-10), two of the bottom three teams in the Big West standings. The Titans have never beaten UCSB during the Lantagne Welch era, having lost 12 straight and dropping 27 of 31 sets to the Gauchos since 2012. The Gauchos owned a 75-47 edge in points in their 3-0 win at Fullerton in September, one of their most lopsided victories of the season. This Saturday, UCSB will host UC Riverside on Senior Night. The Highlanders enter the week losers in two of their last three. Ruddins (25 kills) and Petrachi (24 digs) led the way in a 3-1 Gaucho win on Sept. 21.
Saturday night's match with the Highlanders will also be the final home match for team captains Emilia Petrachi and Annie Hasselmann as well as fellow senior Lexi Rottman, who will be honored in a pregame ceremony. Petrachi is on pace to lead the conference in digs for the third straight season, while Rottman comes in at No. 6 in the Big West with 26 aces for the second straight year. Hasselmann has led the Gauchos in assists in two of her four seasons with the team, last year putting up career-bests with 904 assists and a team-leading 35 aces.
• Look Out Below!
One year after becoming the first Gaucho to lead the country in kill average, outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins is on her way to finishing second in the nation as a redshirt junior, currently averaging 5.33 kills per set. Her career 4.92 K/S is an all-time Gaucho high, while her 1,482 total kills place her at No. 4 in program history. Within the conference this season, she is third in aces (37) and 13th in digs (272). 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.
• 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 5.00 D/S and 505 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 109th and 110th consecutive matches this past week, Petrachi's 54 digs (6.75 D/S) put her at 1,927 for her career, moving her into No. 4 all-time in the Big West. She has led her team in digs in all but three matches this season, in an astounding 94 times in her career (85% of total matches), and has had double-figure digs on 98 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.
• Fantastic Freshman
Setter Olivia Lovenberg has been a standout for the Gauchos in her freshman season, ranking 27th in the nation in assists per set (11.06) and 34th in total assists (1,117), both conference-leading marks. 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 1,117 assists this year, she is just the second Gaucho to reach the 1,000 assist-mark during the Lantagne Welch era.
• 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).
• Top of the Pack
Gauchos have filled up the box scores in a variety of ways all season, but with two matches left in the season, several players stand apart from the rest of the conference. At a Big West-high 5.33 kills per set, Lindsey Ruddins is on pace to be the only Big West player with 500 kills this season, currently at a career-best 538 for the year. Emilia Petrachi has 505 digs on a 5.00 digs per set average, well-ahead of UC Irvine libero Haley DeSales second-leading marks of 462 digs and 4.67 per set. Finally, at a conference-high 11.06 assists per set, Olivia Lovenberg is the only player in the Big West to hit the 1,000-assist mark this year, currently at 1,117.
• Defense, Defense, Defense!
UCSB's defense has shined thus far during Big West play, as the Gauchos have racked up a conference-best 17.49 digs per set. Four different Gauchos currently rank in the conference's top-20 in digs. They are: Emilia Petrachi (1st, 308), Lindsey Ruddins (15th, 144), Torre Glasker (16th, 140) and Zoe Fleck (20th, 130). 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 five players in 2018. Backing up Ruddins' offensive dominance are Gigi Ruddins (2.17 K/S), Torre Glasker (2.14), Rowan Ennis (2.10), and Charlie Robinson (1.82). As a result, the Gauchos are third in the conference in both kill average (13.45 K/S) and hitting percentage (.227). Over 28 matches last year, excluding Ruddins, there were 17 double-digit kill efforts. This year, there have been 29 through 26 contests.
• Serve's Up
Santa Barbara's serving has been one of its most prolific weapons this year, currently leading the Big West at 1.61 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 37 (0.37 SA/S). Torre Glasker sits fifth with 30 (0.32 SA/S), and Lexi Rottman comes in at No. 6 with 27 (0.29 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.