Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at San Diego State (5-5)
At Aztec Court
All-time record vs. Aztecs: 20-19
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (Sept. 19, 2015)
Video | Live Stats
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at No. 10 San Diego (5-2)
At Jenny Craig Pavilion
All-time record vs. Toreros: 14-10
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (Sept. 12, 2015)
Video | Live Stats
USF Challenge Recap
UCSB completed its first undefeated weekend of the season at the USF Challenge after sweeping Brown and San Francisco and handing St. John's its first of 2016 in a 3-1 decision. The Gauchos' sweeps were their fourth and fifth in the past seven matches, as they are now off to their best start since the 2009 season. As winner of the tournament, UCSB finished with a collective .299 hitting percentage, while holding its opponents to just a .154 clip. The best attacking effort came against USF when the team swung a season-high .377, which beat a .367 performance they registered a day before in their sweep of Brown.
The California Mixer
The Gauchos will be traveling to San Diego this weekend for the final non-conference tournament of the season. The California Mixer will be co-hosted by San Diego State and No. 10 USD, who will both battle UCSB along with San Jose State. After taking on the Aztecs on Friday, the Gauchos will make their return to the Jenny Craig Pavilion for the first time since the 2013 NCAA Tournament. With a top-10 ranking, the Toreros will be highest ranked opponent the Gauchos have faced so far this season.
We Hate to Burst Your Bubble...
After being a listed as a team 'on the bubble' last week, the Gauchos broke into PrepVolleyball.com's top-50 rankings after their 3-0 weekend in San Francisco. UCSB made its poll debut at No. 46, as the team made its first appearance on the poll since 2011. With an 8-2 record, UCSB's only two losses have come against fellow ranked teams in No. 42 Pitt and No. 44 UNLV.
Back to Back to Back
Since the start of the season, Lindsey Ruddins has owned the Big West's Freshman of the Week award, as she has now won the weekly accolade in each of the three weeks this year. After being named the USF Challenge's tournament MVP and being named to her third-straight all-tournament team, Ruddins is now leading the conference with 158 kills and is second with her 4.51 kills per set. She has also been a force on defense, as she is third among Big West pin hitters with 27 total blocks and is second with nine solo blocks. She is easily UCSB's most prolific scorer, as she leads the Big West with 177 points this season, and ranks second only to Hawai'i's All-American opposite Nikki Taylor (7.1) with 5.1 points per set.
While UCSB's hitting has been off to a great start, the team's blocking can't be overlooked as it leads the Big West with 2.90 blocks per set with 102 total blocks, also a conference-high. Freshman Charlie Robinson is fourth in the league with 1.0 blocks per game, while Phoebe Grunt checks in at the seventh spot with her 0.91 average and has recorded 32 blocks, sixth in the league. After being named to the USF Challenge All-Tournament team, Grunt now easily leads the conference with a .412 hitting percentage, which is .29 better than the next closest player. She saw a big boost in that category after the team's trip to San Francisco where she swung at a tournament-high .488 clip with 2.7 kills per set. Overall, the Gauchos have been out-blocking their competition 2.90 to 2.19 per set.
The Gauchos have yet another Big West leader in Emilia Petrachi who paces the conference with 158 digs and is third with 4.51 scoops per set. Through the team's 10 matches this year, Petrachi has recorded at least 12 digs in nine of them, including a season-high 27 against New Mexico State. In terms of digs per set, the sophomore had her best match against No. 44 UNLV with an 8.33 average after picking up 25 scoops. She has now led the Gauchos to 527 digs this season, ranking second in the Big West. With her anchoring the defense, UCSB also leads the league in limiting its opponents to a .185 hitting percentage.
Go Go Chanel
Leading UCSB to its best hitting percentage of the season, Chanel Hoffman was unstoppable against the Dons after swinging for a .588 clip while leading the Gauchos with 11 kills. If that weren't enough, she also was in on three blocks that night, pushing her point total to a match-high 14.5. She now leads all UCSB pin hitters with a .261 hitting percentage, and is second only to Lindsey Ruddins with 105 kills, averaging 3.0 per set. She also ranks eighth in the Big West with 131 points.
Hannah Juley has been UCSB's primary setter since the start of the season and currently ranks fourth in the Big West with 332 assists, while holding the fifth-best average of 9.49 helpers per set. Last weekend, she recorded her third 40-assist performance against St. John's, while she average 5.75 assists per set in the other two matches. With two more .300-plus hitting matches from the Gauchos in San Francisco, Juley has guided UCSB to a Big West-leading .243 kill percentage on the season.
UCSB has emerged as the top serving team in the league with 61 service aces and 1.74 aces per set, which are both conference-leading figures. Lexi Rottman and Hannah Juley make up two of the Big West's top three servers with 15 (first) and 13 (third) aces, respectively. With Chanel Hoffman also recording 11 aces, UCSB is the only team in the conference with three players with at least 10 aces. The team is coming off its best weekend at the service line with back-to-back nine-serve performances against Brown and St. John's followed by eight aces versus USF.