SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the third straight year, UC Santa Barbara outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins has garnered an All-Pacific South Region Team selection, it was announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday morning.
Following another dominant campaign in 2018, the redshirt junior from Laguna Niguel, Calif. takes home her second consecutive All-Regional First Team honor. Once again, she was the only Big West player to earn a spot on the All-Pacific South Region Team.
After becoming the first Gaucho ever to lead the nation in kill average in 2017, whether or not Ruddins would be able to improve upon, let alone maintain, her exceptional levels of productivity this year was always going to be a tall order. Come the season's end however, she would post career-highs in numerous statistical categories, including kills (587), attempts (1597), aces (41), digs (304), blocks (59) and points (662).
Ruddins' 5.34 kills per set ranked second in the nation this year and are second all-time at UCSB, trailing only herself. The 587 kills were the most during the rally scoring era (since 2001) and the third-most in program history, behind only the 1987 duo of Judy Bellomo and Yami Menendez.
Appearing in all 29 matches for the first time in her career, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter was the only player in the conference to have at least 10 kills in every match she played in, something she had never done before. She ends the year with 17 20-kill efforts and a pair of incredible 30-kill performances.
While she consistently punished just about every defense she faced from the first serve of the year, Ruddins was at her best when she set a season-high with 33 kills in a 3-1 win over a talented Texas Tech team on Sep. 7. She would also finish with 16 digs, four blocks and three aces on a .357 hitting percentage. The 33 kills were the second-most in the program's rally scoring history, once again, trailing only herself.
Ruddins also notched 15 double-doubles and had eight matches with at least three aces. Her season-high of five aces came in a sweep of CSUN on Oct. 2. Besides leading the Big West in kills for the second straight year, she finished second in the conference in aces, 13th in digs and 18th in blocks.
She also broke her own program record with five Big West Player of the Week awards this year, one more than she had in 2017. Now with nine in her career, she is tied for No. 3 in Big West history.
Not only did the former Aliso Niguel High School star put up career numbers across the board – leading UCSB to its second-highest win total and its first postseason appearance since 2013 – but she did it despite the fact that her supporting cast also produced at a much higher level. Five Gauchos averaged over 1.70 kills per set this year, compared to just two in 2017. With the ball spread out offensively much more this season than last, that still didn't stop her from reaching a top-2 national ranking in kill average.
The news comes several weeks after Ruddins was named to the All-Big West First Team for the third year running. She had also previously earned an All-Regional Honorable Mention following the 2016 season. Ruddins now joins Roberta Gehlke (1997-99) as the only Gauchos ever to earn three All-Regional selections.
To view the complete list of AVCA All-Region Team Award recipients, please click here.