UCSB Faces Top Opponents in San Diego

UCSB Faces Top Opponents in San Diego

• The Schedule
Friday, September 13, 2013 at 5 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (2-4) vs. Eastern Washington (3-4)
at Jenny Craig Pavilion
All-time record vs. Eagles: Never Played

Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. USC (6-0)
at Jenny Craig Pavilion
All-time record vs. Women of Troy: 10-17
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (Dec. 2, 2005)

Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. San Diego (4-1)
at Jenny Craig Pavilion
All-time record vs. Toreros: 14-7
Last meeting: L, 3-1 (Sep. 15, 2013)

*All records indicate teams' standings before the tournament

• Number Four Gets More
For the second time in as many weeks, Leah Sully was named to an all-tournament team. In UCSB's first tournament of the season, she earned All-Cal Molten Classic accolades after recording 29 kills in two matches. Last weekend, Sully was a member of the All-Pepperdine Invitational team after she finished with the most kills in two of the Gauchos' three matches, adding up to 54 overall. Entering the USD Tournament, she stands as the Gauchos' kill leader with 87.

• Right Up Their Ali
Also adding to the UCSB offense are outside hitters Ali Barbeau and Ali Spindt. Barbeau, a sophomore, notched in 13 kills against Colorado State and set a career-high with 17 kills versus Virginia. While facing the Cavaliers, she also posted her all-time mark with 12 digs, achieving her first double-double at UCSB. Spindt is only a freshman, but she has already made an immediate impact with the Gauchos. She leads all freshmen in kills with 50, which is tied for second on the team along with Barbeau. At the Pepperdine Invitational, she added 30 kills to the Gauchos' offensive effort.  Allie Sullberg has also been a huge factor for UCSB this season, as she currently stands as the team's blocks leader with 15 total, averaging .68 per set.   

• Just Keep Digging
Entering the third week of the season, the Gauchos' 13.92 digs per set average ranks third in the Big West. The team has also made 362 total digs with Kara Sherrard owning the top mark with 86, good for third in the conference. Behind her in the conference top-15 are Leah Sully in seventh place with 74 digs and Ali Spindt checking in at No. 14 with 64.

• Thanks for Assistance
After redshirting last year, Hanna Nielson is now in her second season with the Gauchos and is showing little signs of rust from her time spent off the court. She currently leads the Gauchos and is sixth in the Big West with 206 assists, averaging 8.96 assists per set.

• Eyeing the Eagles
Eastern Washington comes into the USD Tournament with a 3-4 record. After starting the season 0-2, the Eagles have since gone 3-2, most recently downing Texas Tech 3-1. Leading the offensive charge for the Eagles is the attacking duo of Allie Schumacher (65 kills) and Melissa Waelter (63 kills). Schumacher has one of the most efficient kill percentages on the team at .256 while averaging a team high 2.71 kills per set. Sophomore outside hitter Alliso Doerpinghaus owns a team-high 29 total blocks, two of which were solo efforts.  

• Taking on the Trojans
USC was ranked as the top team in the NCAA by the AVCA Coaches' Poll this week, nabbing 37 of the 70 first-place votes. The Women of Troy have earned the number one spot by going undefeated (6-0), downing fellow top-25 programs Purdue (22) and Western Kentucky (21), all while only dropping three sets. Samantha Bricio is USC's kills leader at 66, swinging a repectable .306 clip. She's also a threat at the service line, as she has dealt a team-best 18 service aces and averages .90 aces per set, third best in the country. At the net, Hannah Schraer stands as USC's blocks leader, averaging 1.24 per set with 21 total.

• Toppling the Toreros
San Diego ascended into the nation's top-10 at No. 9 earlier this week. Marquee wins against nationally ranked teams like Hawai'i (10), Illinois (14), and Iowa State (17) catapulted the Toreros through the AVCA Coaches' Poll and they are seeking to continue their three-match win streak this weekend. USD leads the nation by averaging 15.77 kills per set with five of its players having 60 or more kills this season. Sandra Lozic paces this competitive lineup with 73 kills, while Chloe Ferrari is a double threat for the Toreros, having already recorded 60 kills and a team-high 21 blocks.

• Two-Year Thunderdome Celebration Continues
In 2013-14, UC Santa Barbara will continue its two-year 35th anniversary celebration of the Thunderdome.  In the Fall of 1979, the doors officially opened for UCSB's Events Center and a new era in Gaucho Athletics was born. Nicknamed the Thunderdome, the Events Center has been home for UCSB's prolific women's volleyball program since its opening. Under the bright lights of the 'Dome, the Gauchos established themselves as a perennial NCAA contender, qualifying for the national tournament 27 times including 26 straight.

• History Lesson
UCSB women's volleyball is historically one of the most successful teams in the NCAA. The Gauchos are just one of only four teams to qualify for the first 26 NCAA Tournaments. Overall, UCSB reached 27 NCAA Tournaments, which includes multiple Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen berths. Before the NCAA recognized women's volleyball, UCSB was one of the top teams in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), reaching its national tournament Final Four three times including two third place finishes.