SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – If you have been a supporter of the UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball program the last couple of years, it's highly likely that the name "Ruddins" was a part of your vocabulary upon entering the Gauchos' 2018 campaign, which ends this Saturday following a 7:00 p.m. Senior Night matchup with UC Riverside.
If it wasn't then, it almost certainly is by now.
Outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins has been demolishing defenses for some time now, resulting in a 4.92 career kills per set average which is by far the highest in UCSB's history. After becoming the first Gaucho to lead the nation in both kill average and total attacks last year, she has refused to let up in her redshirt junior season, already with a career-high 538 kills and a 5.33 kill average which ranks first in the Big West and second in the country.
This year, she has had much more help on the offensive side though. Four Gauchos currently average more than 2.0 kills per set, twice as many as in 2017. Coming in second on the team averaging 2.17 kills per set is none other than Lindsey's younger sister, freshman Gigi Ruddins.
After missing all but one of Santa Barbara's 12 non-conference matches this season, Gigi made her Big West debut in a 3-1 road win over UC Riverside on Sept. 21. She began to make an immediate impact, registering at least eight kills in four straight matches and providing consistent contributions as the Gauchos won four of their next five matches.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Gauchos' last two victories have coincided with Gigi's last two double-digit kill efforts. Her most recent outing saw her reach career-highs of 14 kills on 35 attempts (.257) in a 3-1 win at UC Davis last weekend, supporting Lindsey and the rest of the team in one of UCSB's most balanced offensive performances all season.
Recently, Lindsey and Gigi sat down with Olivia Phelps from the Big West to talk about their bond and the special situation they have worked to put themselves in, competing alongside one another in Gaucho uniforms. You can watch the interview below: