Gauchos Wrap Up Season With Long Beach State, UC Irvine

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• The Schedule

Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (15-16, 8-8) vs. Long Beach State (16-11, 11-5)
at the Thunderdome
Series record vs. the 49ers – 36-60
Streak vs. Long Beach State – Lost 2
UCSB streak overall – Won 2
LBSU streak overall – Won 5
2012 Series – LBSU 1-0
Last time out vs. the 49ers – L, 3-0 (9/22/12)

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-26, 6-8) vs. UC Irvine (11-20, 5-11)
at the Thunderdome
Series record vs. the Anteaters – 66-10
Streak vs UCI – Lost 1
UCSB streak overall – Won 2
UCI streak overall – Lost 1
2012 Series – UCI 1-0
Last time out vs. the Anteaters – L, 3-1 (9/21/12)

• The Week In Review
The Gauchos snapped a four-match losing streak with away wins against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. On Friday, Leah Sully had 23 kills in a come-from-behind win in Riverside. It was just the second time this season that the Gauchos won when being outhit (UCR hit .136 to UCSB's .127).  Katey Thompson had a career-high 10 blocks in the victory.The Gauchos got revenge against Cal State Fullerton by breaking their hearts in a five-set thriller on Saturday. UCSB had led 2-0, but squandered the lead to force a decisive fifth game.  Leah Sully (20 K, 22 D, 3rd 20-20 game of the season)pushed the Gauchos over the top in the fifth, while setter Jaylen Villanueva (5 K, 40 assists) and libero Taylor Formico (30 D) were also standouts.

•Record Breaker
On Nov. 9, freshman libero Taylor Formico recorded her 653rd dig, making her the new single-season record holder for digs in UCSB and Big West Conference history. The record was previously held by UCSB's Chelsey Lowe, who tallied 652 digs in 2011. The Gauchos now have the top four spots in single-season digs in the BWC record book. With two matches to play, Formico has a chance to obliterate the previous record – as she is on pace for 780 digs.

• Sully Killing Them Softly
Leah Sully was just what the doctor ordered for the Gauchos to snap a four-match losing streak. The Big West Player of the Week nominee compiled 43 kills and 38 digs over the weekend. Sully has recorded a double-double in five straight, 13 out of her last 14, and 23 overall. Over the weekend, Sully eclipsed the 500 kill mark, the first time a UCSB player has done so since Lauren McLaughlin in 2007. In the conference, Leah ranks third in kills (4.02/game) and points (4.45/g), and eighth in digs (3.7/g).

•"Taylor-Made Libero"
Just a freshman, Taylor Formico is already making her case as one of the top liberos in the country. Taylor ranks fifth in the nation in total digs (733) and eighth in dig average. Formico has eleven 30+ dig performances this season – no other player has more than seven, and only four have done it six times. The rest of the Big West Conference has combined for six 30+ dig performances. She recently recorded a career-high and UCSB record 41 digs vs. Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 19. Also a rapidly-improving server, Taylor averages the third most aces (0.3 per game) among all players in Big West conference action.

• Last Time Out Against Long Beach State
On Sep. 22, the Gauchos were swept in decisive fashion at Long Beach. UCSB hit a paltry .052 for the match, including a nightmare-inducing -.207 in the second set. Katey Thompson was the sole Gaucho to reach double-digits, finishing with 13 kills. The 49ers hit a robust .293 and finished with nine blocks in the victory.

• Last Time Out Against UC Irvine
On Sep. 21, the Anteaters dealt the Gauchos a loss in the first conference match of the season. Formico had 37 digs in that match to break the school record for most 30+ dig matches (it was her 5th). Katey Thompson had a career high 20 kills in the loss, but UCI's 12 blocks, six aces, and .267 hitting percentage did UCSB in.

• Finishing Out Strong
At 5-16, the Gauchos will need to win both of their remaining home matches to avoid their first losing season since 2008. UCSB has not finished with an exact .500 record in conference play since 1988.

• Drama Majors
Against Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos blew a 2-0 lead. UCSB has performed that "feat"twice this season, and both times the Gauchos were able to win it in 5.
 
• New Blood
This year's Gauchos roster features seven freshmen, which is tied with UC Riverside for the most first-year players among Big West teams.